How often are we encouraged or to LOL, to Laugh out Loud? How often are we told by others that they have laughed out loud? How often are we taken unwittingly by an involuntary snort of laughter, by some amusing message, moment or Facebook meme?
I realise that there are many more moments, though. Moments which might not prompt that laugh deep from the gut, but ones which bring a smile to a face which was previously frowning or simply unthinking. Those tiny moments when you spot a little dog launching herself into the air, only to land with a surprised thud, when the birds she is chasing scatter in flight; or when you see a sweet (as opposed to an extremely annoying) mis-translation or spelling mistake; or watching a man trying to not to fall over while he combines riding his bicycle with balancing a dozen squawking chickens tied by their feet to his handlebars.
Or when you are stuck in traffic and you spot a guy in the taxi next to yours who is leaning out of his window, concentrating very carefully on clipping his fingernails.
This happened to me just a few days ago, and happily my phone was handy so I could capture the moment. I realised that I was Smiling Out Loud. Not laughing, but I had a broad grin on my face. Now I can Smile Out Loud every time I look at this photo.
And when I scroll back through my images, I realise that so many are Smile Out Loud moments. Like this little frog who made me smile when we surprised each other one morning.
We are surrounded by Smiles Out Loud but I am not sure that we see many of them. So I have resolved to keep my eyes open and seek out these moments.
More than ever I need to smile.
We all do.
Smiles are free and abundant.