For the test of the heart is trouble, and it always comes with years, And the smile that is worth the praises of earth is the smile that shines through tears. — Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850–1919)
When I ponder who the greatest people in my world are, I find there are so many to choose from. There are great men and women from the past with outstanding accomplishments, my wonderful parents who raised me well, my teachers, and so many good people making sacrifices to help others around the world.
Someone else who comes to my mind is my friend Nilo. I first met Nilo at a market several years ago. I was walking by and I saw him pushing himself along. You see, Nilo is disabled. I didn’t have much money with me but I took what change I had and put it in the cup which he held out. He looked up at me with a wonderful smile.
“Thank you, my friend,” he responded, and something about the way he said it made me feel good inside.
The next time I was at the market, I went back over to the same spot to see if Nilo was still there. As soon as his eyes met mine, they lit up with that wonderful smile again.
“Hello, my friend!” he shouted out across the road and waved his hands as I went over to see him.
We talked for a while, and from that day on, whenever I was at the market, I always tried to take the time to see him.
“What is it about Nilo that makes him different from other people I see there on the side of the road?” I asked my wife.
We thought about it awhile, then came to the conclusion: “It’s his smile!” In spite of his hardships and his disabilities, he doesn’t sit looking depressed as if he hates life and the world around him. No, he always has that wonderful smile on his face and cheerfully calls me his friend, even if I don’t have much to give him.
That’s a great person! That’s someone I respect, someone who can face the hardships of his life every day with a smile and keep moving forward in spite of the difficulties. If we could be like that, the world would be a better place for everyone.