The power of a smile

Published 8:01 pm Wednesday, October 9, 2019

By QuaWanna Bannarbie

In the land called Nansemond, there was a female warrior who was known to have great power. Wherever she went, she changed the atmosphere and the countenance of people in her presence. If the days were dark and gloomy, clouds would suddenly disappear and light engulfed the places where darkness once stood whenever she appeared. News spread throughout the land of this mysterious maiden. No one really knew where her power came from. She did not wave her arms around to emit lightning rays from her hands or carry a particular weapon as superheroes do. But something about her would manifest healing to people vexed, feeling badly or experiencing a horrible chain of events in their day. They called her Shine.

One day, Shine entered the holy place of the wetlands of Nansemond to pray. Along the path towards the sacred hill, she came upon a certain man with a downcast spirit who had been depressed from a young age. When he saw the warrior princess coming his way, he cried out to ask for alms. But before he could ask, she fixed her eyes on him and showed him her captivating, pearly, teeth-whitened smile. “Look on me,” she said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ, rise up and be free.” Instantly, he received strength and was filled with wonder and amazement. His eyes brightened, and he removed the dark cloak he had been wearing. He walked away from the maiden overjoyed. He also had a smile on his face and began to tell others about Shine’s power and how she had restored him to this brilliant version of himself. The more he talked and smiled, others smiled too. Before long, his entire family was affected by his encounter with Shine. News of her power continued to spread.


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The chief magistrate of Nansemond called for Shine to ask what is this power and under whose authority does she use it. In front of many witnesses, she replied, “I have a smile. The only difference in yours and mine is that I use it often because I believe in its power. I look you straight in your face and I see the light, the light that shines. When I smile at yours and you see mine, then your smile has to come forth. I have been given much and I use what I have to testify to the goodness of the Holy One. I do not have to say a word. I just smile, and that smile has transformative power.” She finished her words with a wink and then smiled at the chief. Suddenly, he began to smile, which started the witnesses laughing. Now the mystery was solved. Shine was not a supernatural mutant or a bewitching priestess of some kind; she was a woman with a bright and beautiful smile.

This is a fictional narrative adapted from the story of Peter and the lame man in the third chapter of the book of Acts in the Bible. It is also a description of what I have learned about the power of a smile over the course of my life. Since I was a young girl, people have remarked about my gorgeous smile and how they notice it even when I am not intentionally showing it off. It is truly my superpower.

As we continue in the month of October and National Bully Prevention Month, I encourage you just to smile at someone every day. A smile is a gift that does not cost anything to give. It is the best accessory and less costly than any amount of make-up or jewelry. Yet it is invaluable. A smile says, “I’m loveable. I feel good. I am confident.” It is a hello from across the room and it expresses warm thanks when you must be silent. To help someone endure their hardship, just smile.

My mother reminded me recently about my smile. With all that is going on in the world that takes away our joy, I am so thankful that God has given us a gift that helps spread brilliant light. In the words of Bone Thugs and Harmony, “I’m gonna say this to every man, woman and child. Don’t you ever be afraid to smile. Smile for me now.”

QuaWanna Bannarbie is an adjunct professor of nonprofit leadership and management with Indiana Wesleyan University, National and Global. Her children attend Suffolk Public Schools. Connect with her via or QNikki_Notes on Twitter.