There once was a man who was happy with his life. He had a good job and a lot of ‘things’. Day and night he would work. Always trying to get ahead so that he could work himself into a higher position. And he was proud. Proud of the time he had spent to get such nice things. He would smile and wave at strangers, talk up the cute cashiers and give a buck or two to the man on the street that he passed every day.
Never focusing on things that made him happy. Things that truly mattered.
But there was something missing from this mans life. Something he couldn’t quite understand or put into words.
So by and by his smile he held faded, and disappeared from his face. Soon there was no words to speak to the people he saw daily. No playful banter. Slowly, the man fell into an abyss. Of what? He could not say.
Then one day as he passed the person he had once given money to, he stopped and approached the scraggly looking man. He asked the man “why do you smile when you have nothing?”
The man did not answer.
And he got upset, so he asked again. “How can you be happy with yourself when you beg for a living?”
Once again the man said nothing, just continued to smile. This made him very angry. He was about to leave, until the homeless man patted the rock he sat on. Despite his reservations, he sat next to dirty man.
And they sat there for a long time. This made him very uncomfortable. He had not sat in silence like this, for a very long time. Eventually the man spoke. “It is a beautiful day today, isn’t it?” The man asked.
And he nodded to him. The man spoke again, “This is the reason I am smiling.” He said as his smile grew wider. The proud man was confused.” Everybody enjoys a nice day. But how can this dictate your day and let you sleep at night when you have no bed to sleep on??” He said, becoming flustered at the mans gibberish.
The man laughed. “Are you happy?” He asked.
To which he replied “I am very happy. I have nice things and well paying job. What’s not to be happy about?”. This made the man laugh a deep laugh, which upset him even more. But he did not say anything back. Instead he looked him in the eye and spoke again.
“You are unhappy. Why are you unhappy?” The homeless man asked. For a moment he wanted to argue with him, but decided not to. Then, he heard himself say without thought. “I am unhappy and do not know why. I thought I had built something to make me happy, but the longer I go the more distraught I become.” In that moment, he felt himself sigh. A weight had been lifted.
The man smiled at him, letting the seconds drag along. “It is a beautiful day, is it not?” He asked without question, turning his attention back toward the sky above.
And so they sat there, watching the sun fade. They sat there quietly for a very long time.
“Yes. Yes it is a beautiful day.” He finally replied, enjoying the silence that moments before made him uncomfortable.
And he smiled. “A beautiful day indeed.”
And the two men, were happy, watching the beautiful day.
“Now you are happy.” The man said. “Life is simple. There may be times when beauty is not there. But always remember…. a smile is what it’s all about. It up to you to choose how often it comes. And how long you keep it.”
He kept his smile. Never letting it go.