A PRICELESS SMILE
I found the following essay in August 2003, while cleaning out my grandmother’s apartment in Florida after she passed away at the age of 93. I had attached a note saying: “Dear Grandma, I wrote this for my camp application in response to the question: “Who is your hero and why?” I thought you might like a copy. I love you very, very much. Love, Alysa.” The note was written in 1992, when I was 20 years old.
“‘Enjoy life, it is as easy as a positive attitude.’ Ask my grandmother for advice and she would tell you just that. Many years of life experience and my grandmother’s eyes reflect that youth is a way of thinking, a mentality and not a measure of years.
My grandmother is my inspiration and that is why she is also my hero. Have you heard of the phrase ‘smile and the world smiles with you?’ Well, the world smiles with my grandmother. Watching her in action I have learned invaluable lessons I will carry on with me to live by and teach my grandchildren some day.
My grandma always reminds me, “it is just as easy to be nice as it is to be mean.” She taught me not to pass judgment on someone else because there is usually more going on inside than meets the eye. My grandma is a firm believer in the compliment. Like smiles, they go a long way and are not just free – they are priceless.
Feeling good about oneself is the inner glow each one of us needs to survive. Compliments are easy to give and their impact is without bounds. My grandma has definitely caught on to a good thing, I think I have too.”
I still miss her every day as I try to live by her wisdom and by the love she left me as her lasting legacy.
RABBI ALYSA MENDELSON GRAF