High school is overwhelming and unbearable if you have to survive alone. Imagine going to Algebra knowing that you didn’t have a friend to laugh with during lunch. Or walking into English knowing that no one will want you in their group for the class project. A dark cloud of loneliness follows you wherever you go. It’s almost suffocating from the weight on your shoulders. But, one day, something changes. While walking to history, you run into a girl. You brace yourself for the string of insults that you know is coming, but instead, she gives you a smile. She even apologizes for running into you. The rest of the day goes by as usual, but you don’t feel lonely. The cloud has lifted and you hold your head higher. That girl made you feel important by smiling at you.
A smile or even a kind word can change everything for a person going through a hard time. When I was in fifth grade, I was bullied almost every day. To me, it felt like I did not have any friends. It was the loneliest I have ever felt and I would not want anyone else to go through it. The few times that I felt important were when my classmates would smile at me or say something nice. The rest of the day could be terrible, but I wouldn’t notice. After my fifth grade year, I decided that I did not want anyone else to be bullied or feel lonely. I made it my mission to encourage everyone I saw. It became a huge blessing in my life since I was able to make several unexpected friends.
One of those unexpected friends was a junior named Trav. He ran cross-country with my brother and had a dream of being a comedian. I first met Trav in my public speaking class and I noticed that he seemed to stay by himself. I started talking to him when I saw him in the hallway. Soon, Trav would tell me what was going on with him in his life and I was able to pray for him. Another unexpected friend that I made was Abby. We had gone to church together for several years before I talked to Abby for the first time. We grew close and went to several church events together. Abby encouraged me to grow stronger as a Christian. Yet, Abby moved away last year and I haven’t talked to her in a while. Even though I met Trav and Abby in different places, they both became friends.
Giving someone you don’t know a smile does not only change their day. It also can change their life and yours. I would not be who I am without God or my friends. God opened my eyes when I was in fifth grade and made me sensitive to the feelings of others. My friends urge me to live out my faith and to be nice to everyone. Humans aren’t mind readers, so we have no idea what everyone is going through. So, my challenge to you is to smile at someone new today. Who knows what could come from it.
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