When I was a kid, I once saw a television program about this group of people who had colonized a far away planet. For some reason which I can’t remember, the sun only shined on this planet for a few hours on a certain day every seven years. The story revolved around a little girl. This particular little girl had been born soon after the last “Event”, so as such had never experienced a sunny day. I would like to say it was her birthday, but don’t quote me on that.
This otherwise perfect planet was subjected everyday to grey overcast skies. As a result, this sunny day was considered magnificently important and great preparations went into celebrating this brightest of all days, to include making sure all the children of the colony were sufficiently excited about the coming event. I remember that in the story this little girl looked upon this day with perhaps more anticipation than the other children. She wouldn’t go out and play with the other kids because she was waiting for this day. To her, the day could only be worth enjoying if it was a sunny day. But on the day of the great event, some little boys played a cruel joke on her and locked her in a closet before the sun came out. In the end she missed her day of sunshine and would have to wait another seven years. But it wouldn’t be the same. As we all know, a sunny day to a 7 year old is a completely different animal than a sunny day to a 14 year old. A sunny day at seven seems to go on forever; it imparts a feeling that whatever we can imagine can be accomplished on a day such as this. At fourteen we are too preoccupied with other things, like racing into adulthood, to even contemplate the weather. On the surface it is obviously a tragic tale, but to me it has always been more than a sad story. I think one of the reasons I remember this story is because it is filled with so many lessons about life.
Today I realize, thankfully, that I am not or have ever been that child. Perhaps it is because of that very story I saw so long ago. I am not someone waiting for the sunshine. Unfortunately, I know far too many people who are that little girl. They are waiting for that bright shiny day. We all love sunny days. Nothing really compares does it? It puts us in a good mood, gives us energy, and inspires us to go out and do wonderful crazy things. Luckily, on this planet we don’t have to wait seven years for the sun to come out. Depending on where we live, most of us get enough sunshine in our lives, or at the very least, we know where to find it. But if the simple act of clouds breaking apart could make us happy, why doesn’t everyone move to Southern California? Because we know that happiness requires a bit more than that.
A wise man once said that “In every life there must be rain”. How very true. Some of us have learned to embrace the rain, to enjoy the cloudy days for the different reflective, and dramatic moods, they inspire within us. We have learned that there is sunshine every single day of our existence, and it is not always hidden behind the clouds. But far too many of us are still looking and waiting. I will let you in on the worlds worst kept secret. The brightest sunshine in the world can be found in the smile of a woman.
In this smile is enough light to inspire children to grow, to light the path of a man who has lost his way, and to illuminate even the dullest of days with humor, charm and grace. But all too often this sunlight is blocked by the storm clouds of prejudice, indifference, and insecurity. It is blocked so often that this light never shines and sometimes doesn’t even know how bright it can be. The worse part of this is that this smile needs to shine; to experience the happiness it can bring to the world, to feel the wonder at how far its beams can reach, and to know that there is no limit to how bright she can shine. I am ashamed to say that men are far too frequently the cause of these storm clouds. The truth is that we are too often occupied with what we can get from a woman, than what she can give us. We must learn that this particular sunlight is brighter than any star that shines in the heavens, and as men once used the stars to guide their way on long dangerous journeys, we must learn to use this sunlight to help us see a better path forward. It is not something to hide, but something to set free. It gets stronger the more it shines. But men alone do not carry the yoke of this injustice. Women themselves must realize that it is wrong to constantly tell and show other women that their smile is not bright enough. Doing this in the form of magazines, films, and television, only dims this light, perhaps forever. All of this media hype fails to tell women that the source of their sunshine comes from within, and no amount of beauty products or designer clothing will ever make that smile any brighter.
I am still looking for my own ray of sunshine, the one shining just for me. But I consider myself lucky, because I have learned to allow every smile to lighten my day. So the next time that you have a chance to feel the warmth and happiness of a woman’s smile, you should bask in it. Let it brighten up your very being, and allow it to fill all the dark spaces of your soul. And then maybe, just maybe, one day she will save that smile only for you.