The Simplicity of a Smile

Over the course of my short 23 years of living, I have dedicated much of it to service. I have gone on countless service trips across the country, and each presented its own unique challenges.

I just returned from a week of service, and my unique challenge lied in a home for autistic children. I have always had a fear of working with special needs children. This fear of messing up or hurting them scared the bejesus of out me, and i didn’t want to add to their already pressing condition.

When the group I was with arrived to the home, there was some hesitation, of course, but all of that was much expected. We separated into the duties assigned to us, and slowly started engaging in activities with the children.

I met a young boy by the name of Griffen. I’m not too familiar with the nature of his disability, but i would soon learn that it certainly did not limit him. He asked me to read several book to him, and whenever he got bored of me speaking, he would tell me to shh. Amazing, huh?

I struggled to really understand him though because his speech was not all there. For a while, I thought he was whispering that he wanted to see the doctor. That freaked me out at first because I thought I did something wrong. Well, come to find out that he wasn’t asking for the doctors, but a game of duck, duck, goose. Duh.

So the game begins! Griffen wanted to start, but he made sure to explain the rules before we started the game. Once everything was clear, he began his journey to find the goose, among all the ducks. The suspense was obvious because no one knew who he was going to pick. Ironically enough, I was the goose among the ducks.

The point of the story is not to share the nature of the game, but the joy he received from having people to play with him. I will never forget the smile that beamed from his face. Pure joy. It made me reflect on a couple of things.

Griffen appreciates every moment of joy that he has. It could be because that may be all he knows, or some other reason. I don’t quite understand it myself. However, the beauty and the joy that came from a simple game was beyond me. That was love in its purest, innocent form.

I came to understand that my search of happiness may not be as simple as Griffens, but that may be because i love to complicate things. I only focus on the negative, rather than seeing the whole picture. Griffen is the example of seeing the positive of the world. I’m sure he understands he is different than most, but it’s okay. Why? Because he is happy enough that he can share a smile with a bunch of strangers who will just sit and play duck, duck goose.

Griffen may never function based on the standard of society, but he exceeds us all in one thing. He smiles, he loves, and he isn’t afraid to tell you to shh when you talk too much. His ability to love is beyond anyones that I have ever seen, but it was the purest interaction that I have ever had to understanding God’s love. With that being said, he is the goose, in a world of ducks and it is a beautiful blessing.



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