Smile Anyway

Editors note: We strongly support and encourage face coverings as a way to stop the spread of Coronavirus.

Smile Anyway

By Karin Kiser

I don’t care what anyone says. This “new normal” everyone is talking about? It may be new, but it is definitely not normal.

However you feel about face masks, one thing is certain. They are covering up more than just our nose and mouth. While they might be beneficial for slowing the spread of germs, covering our mouths has other unintended consequences.

We can’t see smiles.
We can’t read lips.
We are blocked from natural forms of expression and connection.

None of that is normal.

What is normal is lots of in-person connection, physical touch and smiling. Smiling is a natural expression of kindness, of joy, of our interconnectedness, of the very essence of what it means to be a human being. Smiling is part of the universal humanness that goes beyond culture, class or creed. A genuine smile can be shared and understood by everyone from infants to octogenarians alike, without a word ever being spoken.

On the Camino, smiles and hand gestures quickly become the one of the primary ways of communicating with others. In a single 24-hour period you can find yourself speaking Spanish, French, German, Korean, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Czech and Galician – not with your words, but with your gestures and facial expressions. It’s a universal language, available to all. Continue reading