Instant Cure for Stress: A Smile

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Waiting on a Smile

We waited in the outdoor terminal for our ride.  We waited and waited.  Someone named Norman (not his real name, I’m sure) was to pick us up and take us to the little house we had rented right on the beach.  The aggravation was starting to set in for a number of reasons.  And it was raining a bit, no affordable cell service, no visible taxis…  There was the feeling we were stranded.  I didn’t like it.

Island on Holiday

We wanted to leave the airport and couldn’t.   There were no taxis – we discovered they had all departed early  because it was the Saturday afternoon before Easter and on this Christian island, everything shuts down on Easter with limited service on this the day before, no services on Good Friday and again limited services available on  Anzac Day – a New Zealand holiday – which happened to fall on the Monday after Easter this year.  We stood bewildered in the slowly evaporating rain and soaked up the rapidly developing humidity and wondered what to do now?

Our Easter Miracle

“Nono” (short for a much longer Māori name) was just locking up her booth at Island Hopper, a small airline serving the Cook Islands.  She saw two bedraggled and bewildered Americans looking lost and a bit confused.  She asked if we needed help and we eagerly shared our plight.  She confirmed our fears that no taxis would be showing up, we would have to call and there would be a long wait.  Then she quickly asked if we needed a ride, I was stunned.  First of all, no one would offer you a ride at LAX and if they did, you certainly wouldn’t take it.  And secondly, because she so easily offered.  We accepted again stunned by her grace.

Island Life – Happy Life

During our ride, we discovered that she was a native to Rarotonga and most of her family had immigrated to New Zealand, but she would never leave for she loved her island home far too much.  Her husband had recently joined parliament on the island and life seemed very good for her.  Of course, everyone on the island seemed happy, or at least easy and carefree.  Nono was pleased to share some of her life story and she wished us well, as she dropped us right at our front door.

A Smile Goes a Long Way

An easy nature goes even further than a smile, for it pours out like melted butter and makes everything better, uncomplicated, and less demanding.  We tend to let the tensions of our day, our lives pour out of us like hot knives, slicing through the butter around us; ignoring smiles and pleasant tones that could be so impactful, so softening.  I don’t want to be the hot knife.  I want to be the butter.

A Reminder of Grace

I fondly remember Nono for sharing her car and easing a stressful and unfamiliar situation with her infectious smile and comfortable style.  We were instantly put at ease and brought to a de-stressed life – a true vacation.


You just might make somebody’s day or even their week.
Be the butter, not the knife.


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