At a Glance a Smile Sanctified

"At a Glance a Smile Sanctified" by Margaret Rose Realy, Obl. OSB (

Copyright 2017 Margaret Rose Realy, Obl. OSB. All rights reserved.

It was a late-pring afternoon, one of those kinds of days when big clouds moved across crisp blue skies, allowing sunlight and shade to waltz around the gardens.

I walked down the drive to the front lawn with my white five-gallon plastic pail in hand. I was picking up pine cones and tree litter in preparation to mow. Stepping around the weeping crabapple I noticed a woman walking along the blacktop road who, looking up, had noticed me in the yard.

She looked to be a few years younger than me . . . and every bit as full-bodied. Her walking shoes were wide-strapped tan sandals. Her black socks were scrunched down about her ankles, one about to creep fully under her heel. While she walked, her navy-blue jersey knit shorts had worked their way up between her ample thighs, and the bright orange and yellow floral tee she wore barely met the elastic waistband cinching in her belly. She obviously thought it too warm for a bra.

I could imagine she was walking for exercise in hopes of dropping a few pounds. I could imagine she was forced to walk to the corner store because her family had to cut back and there was only one car. I could imagine she was walking to center herself after some stressful event or heated argument. I assumed that her walking down the road had a purpose. People rarely walk down this busy street just for a stroll.

Meeting her gaze I openly smiled. She seemed startled that someone actually looked at her, and blinked a couple times before her face lit up and she smiled back. Then, just as quickly, the smile left her face and she averted her eyes in a shy sort of way. She was again looking down and watching the blacktop under her feet.

I too was a bit startled by the feeling from our exchanged glance. Until that moment I had not truly realized that a smile could sanctify, bring out the Holy in another person. It was in her brief delight that I saw the Lord of Love revealed.

We both returned to our separate endeavors, each of us touched differently by the presence of goodness. She to her journey down the road, and I “to bow and to bend” to God in all of His creations.

Copyright 2013, 2017 Margaret Rose Realy, Obl. OSB


About Author

Margaret Rose Realy, Obl. OSB lives an eremitic life and is the author of Cultivating God’s Garden through Lent, A Garden of Visible Prayer: Creating a Personal Sacred Space One Step at a Time, 2nd Edition, and A Catholic Gardener’s Spiritual Almanac. A freelance writer with a Benedictine spirituality, Margaret has a master’s degree in communications and is a Certified Greenhouse Grower, Advanced Master Gardener, liturgical garden consultant, and workshop/retreat leader.

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