The park that I run in holds a very special place in my heart. It is a place I ran when my girls were babies, I would pop them in the double jogger and go. I have been running there for about 9 years, and now that I just registered for my first marathon, there will be a well worn path there when the training is over. The running trail is made of crushed gravel, it has rolling hills and it is lined with trees…it is perfect for me, and I can walk out my front door, cross the street and I am there…bonus! I also love that it is a loop and I see a lot of the same people a few times before I am finished running.
There is one gentleman in particular that always makes me smile. He is an older Asian man, and I have seen him at the park for years. Each and every time I see him on the trail, he greets me with an open mouth smile and a wave…he truly shines like a sunbeam. I might see him 3,4,5 times during a run and he waves and smiles every time I pass by. It is a simple gesture, but he makes me so happy.
While I was on a run over the weekend, I saw my smiley friend, but it looked as if he may have suffered a stroke recently. He had his wife with him and she slowly and gently helped him walk around the park. I will admit that I didn’t recognize him at first because I was used to seeing him perky and lively, this time he was a little bent over and walking cautiously. As I got closer to him, he raised his head and that beautiful smile came across his face along with his trademark wave. I finished the rest of my run with a giant lump in my throat. What touched me most is that this man, who doesn’t even know my name, has made such and impression on me. It is his simple kindness and genuine love of life that is so touching…even while his health is failing him, he just can’t help himself…he just has to smile.
When I saw this print on Pinterest, it made me think of my darling, happy friend on the trail. The next time I see him I just want to give him a smooch on the cheek…although he will probably wonder why some sweaty, stinky girl is coming at him, but I don’t think he will mind.
Keep smiling!
Print by Kensie Kate

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