contagious joy

I was waiting for a train recently, and there was only one other person on the platform, so we got to talking. This young woman had a smile so big it looked like she was about to squeal. She beamed, absolutely bursting with pure joy. Given that this is quite a unique sight, I was curious as to why she was so darn happy. I mean, had she just won the lottery or something?

Turns out, she’s from the Republic of Cameroon in Central Africa and had moved to the United States only the day before. She had just completed her first day of nursing school and was simply admiring the sights all around us, still relishing in her very new experiences of snow and train travel.

This young woman, Marianne, told me how incredibly happy she was. She kept laughing during our conversation, her joy overflowing in the form of sound.

I must say, I smiled the entire time I was in her presence and for some moments afterward. We take so much for granted, these everyday things. Standing beside Marianne, I began to marvel at the snow and the trains, too! I began to marvel at my own work opportunities and at the fun of connecting with a stranger.

When I need a little pick-me-up, I think back to our brief time together, and I smile. Some time has gone by, and Marianne’s joy is still contagious. I hope I can pass it along to someone else.