A Smile that Made a Frustrating Day into a Blessed One

We all have them from time to time – crappy, bad days where you feel like nothing you are doing is going right and the world is against you.

I’ve had my share of those days since the beginning of this year, but this past Friday it became one of those days again in various ways, from car trouble to missing Tesla, to having some of my exhibition photos damaged, from nearly getting ran into on the road. The list goes on. Plus, people I had counted on for this day had let me down tremendously.

It was also the day for the official opening of the Art League of West Texas Foundation Spring Show Competition at the Buddy Holly Center. I was apprehensive about its reception, because it was a themed show centered on bunnies and hares, as well as was opened to local students. We had just four student entries, but they were all worthy pieces of art created by young students.

By the time First Friday Art Trail rolled around that evening, my bad day soon started turning into a better one by visiting with a friend who is assisting in reviewing my Hunt book, as well as who has become a silent inspiration to me on many levels. Talking with Annette started giving me a sense of peace from the day’s frustrations. I was still on edge and apprehensive though.

Nicole’s smile!

While observing visitors viewing the exhibition – a huge smile on a young girl’s face caught my eye. Her face was illuminated with a surreal happiness of light and her mom was ecstatic taking her picture. I walked over to them and asked if she was Nicole. Indeed she was.

Nicole had created “Ying and Yang Bunnies” for her entry into the show, which won first place. I had talked to her mom earlier that morning notifying her of daughter’s award. What made the moment even more special was that Nicole’s mom kept her winning a secret until they arrived at the Buddy Holly Center that evening.

Can one smile make everything bad you’ve gone through in a day disappear? In this small instance in my life it did. Nicole’s joyous smile gave me hope that I’d done something right late last year by insisting to open this competition up to regional students. It gave her a chance to create a unique piece of art. It gave her hope to believe in herself. In turn, her smile made my bad day seem less tragic and gave me hope that maybe – just maybe I’m still making a small difference in this big world.


Photograph – © Christena Stephens Photography


4 thoughts on “A Smile that Made a Frustrating Day into a Blessed One”

  1. I think that smile makes it worth all the work and worry. Hopefully, the young artist will continue to nurture her skills as she gets older, and if/when she does, you’ll have been a part of that. Take heart — you’re making a different to both the Art League and to Lubbock. Go, Christena.

    Liked by 1 person

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