A Smile and a Wave: Thoughts with Anna Stunz

Dear Warrior, 

Let me tell you a story…

There was once a seven year old girl who loved to play outside. She would go outside and spin inside her hula hoop for hours and play basketball until her arms hurt. When a car drove by the driveway she would always stop playing to smile and wave at those in the passing car.  

She wasn’t afraid of people or how people would react to her huge grin and big floppy wave. This little girl believed happiness should be shared; her world was pure and untainted.

One day she stopped waving at people on the street. She had grown up  and noticed the world she lived in and the hurt it could cause. She thought, “What good could my smile and wave do?”

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This is the story of a time when I remember life being easier. A story of a time when the hurt and hatred of the world was unknown. A story that seems like it is almost unreal.  

I look at this world I live in now and I’m hurt, scared, and sad. Our world is broken. I see people all around me affected by terrorism, natural disasters, and poverty and I wonder what good would a smile and a wave do now?

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Eleven years later that girl was sitting on a train headed home. There was an older woman sitting alone near her. The girl smiled and then the older woman waved. The older woman talked about her grandchildren and the girl talked about her nephew and they smiled and laughed. Then the girl noticed a newspaper sitting next to her. The headline was about the latest terrorist attack in London. The woman asked, “Are you afraid?” The girl responded, “No.” The woman then responded by saying, “Then you know how to live.”  

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I said my goodbyes to the woman as she exited the train and sat there transported back to that seven year old girl. Leaving me alone to reflect on our exchange, I remembered the times I used to wave at cars driving by as I played. Then I looked a couple of years later to a time in my life I was suffering with depression and wanting to die because of the misery and pain I experienced.

Now I am being told that I know how to live. That day changed me. I am not afraid of what the world has to throw at me. I am not even afraid of my depression or my anxiety. I choose life.

I realize now that a smile and a wave can do so much. When I was battling the worst of my depression I remember wishing for someone to see me and smile.  

That day a smile and a wave may not have changed the world but it definitely changed my world.

The story does not end here me. I will continue to smile and wave because who knows, it could change the world.  

Warrior, keep fighting because you are worth it. Keep writing your story because your smile and wave mean so much to the world we live in. Do not be afraid to live because I promise God has something big planned for the life you are living.  

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Keep Fighting

Much love with a smile and a wave,

Anna