Chronic Snarkopolist: The Smile
Hello my loves!
Once, during my most painful time, when I hurt more than any day I can express I look out the window on the way to the hospital. I thought to myself, “How can I do this? How can I possibly endure this when no medicine will stop this pain?” A woman looked out her window at a stoplight and smiled at me.
It was the smile that stopped time. I held on to her smile the entire day. From her I knew there was hope. Hope for pain free days. Hope for life. Hope for living normal again. In the hospital I spent countless days counting to from 1 to 10 over and over and holding on to her smile. That woman will never know what she gave me.
All those days my yoga instructors would spend making us count our breaths used to annoy me. It was then that I understood, when there is breath there is life. Without our breath we have no life. My yoga instructors will never know the gifts they gave helping me focus on my breath. But I know this – NO amount of pain medication or opiate drugs decreased my pain. When I counted my breath and focused on a smile I made it. Her smile promised there was humanity, LIFE, hope.
Through heart monitors and blips and beeps and countless hours and tubes there was HOPE. I will never be able to thank the people who gave me the gifts I needed to have that hope. But what I can do is reach out and reach back and in my own way share my gifts. And promise that we all have a smile, we all have a way to give hope. And some days, we might be someone’s unknowing anchor.
I know that smile held the knowledge of my own humanity from the promise of another woman’s smile. Because of her I endured. I got through.
Thank you to my unknown smile. Thank you to the woman who gave it to me. May you have a thousand reasons to smile and a thousand returned smiles for the one you gave me when I couldn’t return yours.
Thank you to my yoga instructors, who for years have made me learn the power of breath. Thank you for the making me learn the “boring” part of yoga. Thank you for helping me learn to control my breath and slow my exhale longer than my inhale. Your wisdom is ingrained in my body’s healing.
Thank you for reading my gratitude today. I would love to hear yours. I would love to hear your stories of unexpected healing of accidental joy, of good things that came of pain. There are so many times we have gained slowly over the years and used it without thinking (like yoga). I would love to hear your stories! How have you been given gifts of smiles or kindness? Tell me! I must know!
I will see you same time next week! Kiss kiss!
Tags: chronic illness column, chronic illness support, chronic pain management chronically wondering if my illness will ever pass, chronic snarkopolist the smile, chronically asking if I will be healthy again, feeling hopeful, finding hope, finding hope in small things, hope, smiling with chronic illness, the pitfalls of chronic illness, written by Melissa Travis