Smiling With Intention: Counting Blessings

Smiling With Intention: Counting Blessings

Patiently Awakened
Although a smile costs nothing, it can be just what a person needs. Many have encouraged me throughout my life with a smile, thus teaching me how powerful the act of smiling can be. Someone complimented me on my smile this week. I smiled again with a heartfelt thanks. I must say that I have an awesome dentist, yet my desire to smile exceeds anything aesthetic.

There are many people who have referenced my personality to my smile, and have made the point that I appear to be happy all of the time. This is a fictitious statement. No one is happy all of the time. We have moments and bouts of sadness. However, my truth is that I make a valiant effort to choose happiness. I try to smile whenever I can.

Those who know me, follow my column or have read anything I have written know that I am emotionally candid. I completely expose the content of my heart. I am brutally honest and very descriptive. I believe we need genuine depictions of the human experience, not a happily-ever-after narrative. We know that place exists only in fairy tales.

We must acknowledge that life and illness are complex, and feel comforted that we are never alone. There are others going through similar occurrences. Life, in this way, is the great connector. With that being said, I feel as if I am too blessed to chronicle only my troubles. Life is difficult for everyone, however, if we reflect on our joys we can find something to smile about.

I have learned that on my most difficult days, I must encourage myself. I encourage myself by smiling and believing that I will get through whatever deterrent I am presented with. I can have 100 reasons to cry, yet, when I consider all things, I have 101 reasons to smile. Smiling permits me to muster the strength to get through tribulations. It may not eliminate my illnesses or circumstances, yet it reminds me that I still have hope. I have faith and a reason to go on. I have MS, yet it doesn’t define me. I shed tears, yet they eventually dry. I have bad days, yet I believe tomorrow will be better. In moments of gloom, I am assured that this too shall pass.

I am ever reminded that I cannot allow illness and adversity to covet my smile. It reflects who I am on the inside and all that I aspire to be. In addition to my words and actions, a smile is something I want to be remembered by. It is my desire that my family and friends will remember the reasons I smiled through both tragedy and triumph. I hope they, too, will smile unsparingly because life is short and precious. I smile knowing that as long as I can savor the sweetness of my life, I will find the fortitude to stay the course.

In conclusion, MS and chronic illness has the propensity to usurp our happiness. Yes, there are some things we may lament, and to do so is normal. We also should try to remember that in the midst of it all we can search for something that makes us smile. This week I am sending you a smile and virtually, I can feel you sending one back.

You’ll find that life is still worthwhile if you just smile.”- “Smile” by Nat King Cole.

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Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Teresa I. Wright-Johnson is a married Multiple Sclerosis Warrior and Congenital Heart Disease Survivor. She was born with a heart murmur and an Aortic Valve Defect. Teresa has endured multiple open heart surgeries and cardiac procedures. She was diagnosed with MS in November of 2014 and is under the care of an esteemed MS Specialist. Teresa knows there is a calling on her life and she fully embraces that. Teresa uses her illnesses as opportunities to further rely on her faith, walk in her truth, raise awareness and educate others. She believes that she is purposely on purpose. Teresa offers a solid background in Criminal Justice and Social Services. A graduate of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ and a retired Sr. Parole Officer for the State of New Jersey, Teresa uses her life to empower and inspire others. She embodies community service, is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc and is active with several other organizations. Teresa aspires to be a light that shines in dark places. Teresa is an author, poet, inspirational speaker and a community activist. She enjoys writing, reading, listening to music and spending time with her family and friends. Teresa acknowledges the unwavering love of her wonderful parents throughout her life and her supportive and loving husband Marvin who is beside her through every trial and triumph.
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Teresa I. Wright-Johnson is a married Multiple Sclerosis Warrior and Congenital Heart Disease Survivor. She was born with a heart murmur and an Aortic Valve Defect. Teresa has endured multiple open heart surgeries and cardiac procedures. She was diagnosed with MS in November of 2014 and is under the care of an esteemed MS Specialist. Teresa knows there is a calling on her life and she fully embraces that. Teresa uses her illnesses as opportunities to further rely on her faith, walk in her truth, raise awareness and educate others. She believes that she is purposely on purpose. Teresa offers a solid background in Criminal Justice and Social Services. A graduate of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ and a retired Sr. Parole Officer for the State of New Jersey, Teresa uses her life to empower and inspire others. She embodies community service, is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc and is active with several other organizations. Teresa aspires to be a light that shines in dark places. Teresa is an author, poet, inspirational speaker and a community activist. She enjoys writing, reading, listening to music and spending time with her family and friends. Teresa acknowledges the unwavering love of her wonderful parents throughout her life and her supportive and loving husband Marvin who is beside her through every trial and triumph.

8 comments

  1. Pamela Kirby says:

    I love this article! I too continue to smile even though I have been diagnosed with 4 autoimmune diseases. After talking with a man whose wife has MD I realized even more how blessed I am to have a husband, our families, and church family who have helped us much and still do. This man has very little help and I could see if not for his faith he could crumble at any time from pure exhaustion! I truly believe we can use our adversaries to be a light to a world that needs that especially in this time we live. My faith in Jesus Christ is the main reason I keep on smiling knowing this to shall pass and one day I will have a new glorified body with disease. But while I am here on earth I intend to be a light and a smile 😊 cost nothing but could make all the difference to someone! Thank you Teresa this made me smile today. God bless you

    • Teresa Wright-Johnson says:

      Hi Pamela,
      Thank you so much for your response. Thanks for opening up and sharing your story. You are courageous and you have inspired me. Continue to light the world. You made me smile. God bless you and yours!

  2. Antoinette Richardson says:

    Theresa, after reading this piece, I understand why you and I organically “clicked” once we started talking. Your spirit is so beautiful. As you know, I lost a dear friend recently. Due to his compromised immune system, and unbeknown to most who knew him, he suffered the fear of impending death throughout all of his adult life. Despite this, he had a beautiful joyful contagious spirit that helped keep me (and multitudes of others) whole. As that window closed, the door to our kinship/friendship simultaneously opened.
    A window closed, a door opened. God is good.

  3. Teresa Wright-Johnson says:

    Hi Antoinette,
    Your comment brought a smile to my face. Yes, we clicked organically and I appreciate what we’ve shared thus far. My condolences on the loss of your dear friend. He did the very thing I aspire to do, which is live a purpose filled life, inspire others,and leave a rich legacy of love, family and friendship. God is good all the time and he always sends us what and who we need just at the right time.

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