In my marathon recap post, I mentioned something that my boyfriend had done that helped get me through the difficult moments in the race. Before he left to park the car, he handed me a stack of 6 notes, each with a mile printed on the outside. I was instructed to open and read each one at the indicated time. The notes were simple, yet those few words of love and encouragement propelled me through the pain and gave purpose to the race which kept me from giving up. They were my smile markers, as eagerly anticipated as an advent calendar at Christmas for a little kid.
I was telling a mutual friend about these notes the other day and I realized that the concept could be applied in a much broader way. I know in the early days of my divorce, the support from friends and family was overwhelming. I received calls, emails, letters, and cards. Everyone wanted to help, but no one knew exactly how. As is only natural, as time moved on, the contact waned. Life is busy and we all get distracted. I was in a better place, but like the miles in a marathon, I had thoughts of quitting along the journey of the divorce.
If you know someone who is undergoing a divorce or other difficult transition in their life, create smile markers for them. Maybe print the dates of challenging anniversaries or important milestones on the outside. On the inside, write messages of friendship, love, shared memories, inspiration, and hope. Give them the entire stack at once; knowing that you have a gift in the future helps to persevere through any ugliness in the present.
If you are the one in a difficult transition, share this idea with friends and family when they ask how they can help you. They want to help; they just don’t know how. You can also create your own messages, gather quotes and pictures that bring you joy and peace and place them in envelopes with important or difficult dates printed on the outside. Even though you do not have the element of surprise, simply opening a blessing in midst of pain will still bring a smile.
When journeys feel too immense to ever complete, they are best broken up into smaller treks. Why not mark each one with a smile marker? 🙂