A Smile To Diffuse Tension

We had been on vacation to visit my wife’s two sisters in different parts of Florida. After a long week of travel and visiting, we stood in the queue for our flight from Orlando back home. Our plane arrived late from Denver pushing our departure time back 30 minutes or so.

The joys of traveling to Orlando (on business or vacation for older people) are the kids excited for the trip down and then tired and crabby for the trip home.

Beside us in queue was a father and two daughters aged about 4 and 6. They (probably all three) were tired. The girls were typically crabby and squabbling like tired siblings are want to be. One was lying on the floor. At another point, the second laid down.

An older man crowding behind them suddenly said, “Excuse me. Excuse me. That girl kicked my suitcase.”

Dad responded by reprimanding his daughter. I was proud of myself for not saying to that man, “You sound just like a 6-year-old yourself. Who cares if she bumped your suitcase?” But, I remained silent rather than provoke a greater outburst.

I did smile at the little girl and told her we’d be boarding before long, and we’d all get home.

It didn’t help as much as I would have liked, but it did calm things a bit.

Later that night before bed, I was reading from the latest translation of Rumi’s poetry:

Your laughter turns the world to paradise.


That reminded me of some lines, less eloquent yet still meaningful, from the BeeGees:

Smile an everlasting smile
A smile can bring you near to me


Try a smile today. It works. Even when replying to something stupid you’ve seen on social media, smile as typing. Then delete. And smile at the thought of the entire farce.

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