My husband Craig and I started playing a game awhile back that has been going on for years. We got the idea from a story we read in a devotional for couples. It started with a large post-it note with this word, shmily written on it. Craig hides it somewhere in the house and then waits for me to discover it, sometimes it’s weeks later or even longer. Then it’s my turn. And so it goes. We have alternately hidden it in between clothes, under sheets, tucked in a good read, in his toolbox, in the coffee pot, in his frisbee golf bag etc. When we find it, it always brings a smile, especially when it’s connected to an act of service for each other.
Here is the original story as was published in Focus on the Family’s devotional titled, “Nightlight”.
“SHMILY” by Laura Jeanne Allen
“My grandparents were married for over half a century. From the time they met each other they played their own special game. The goal of their game was to write the word ‘shmily’ in a surprise place for the other to find. They took turns leaving “shmily” around the house, and as soon as one of them discovered it, it was his or her turn to hide it once more.
They dragged “shmily” with their fingers through the sugar and flour containers to await whoever was preparing the next meal. They smeared it in the dew on the windows overlooking the patio where my grandma always fed us warm, homemade pudding with blue food coloring. ‘Shmily’ was written in the steam on the bathroom mirror, where it would reappear after every hot shower. At one point, my grandmother even unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper to leave “shmily” on the very last sheet.
There was no end to the places “shmily” popped up. Little notes with a hastily scribbled ‘shmily’ were found on dashboards and car seats or taped to steering wheels. The notes were stuffed inside shoes and left under pillows. ‘Shmily’ was written in dust upon the mantel and traced in the ashes of the fireplace. This mysterious word was as much a part of my grandparents’ house as the furniture…”
The story continues, as the granddaughter writes about her devoted and affectionate grandparents. Eventually, her grandmother dies of cancer. This is what she remembers:
“Then one day, what we all dreaded finally happened. Grandma was gone.
‘Shmily.’ It was scrawled in yellow on the pink ribbons of my grandmother’s funeral bouquet. As the crowd thinned and the last mourners turned to leave, my aunts, uncles, cousins, and other family members came forward and gathered around Grandma one last time. Grandpa stepped up to my grandmother’s casket and, taking a shaky breath, began to sing to her. Through his tears and grief, the song came, a deep and throaty lullaby.
Shaking with my own sorrow, I will never forget that moment. For I knew that, although I couldn’t begin to fathom the depth of their love, I had been privileged to witness its unmatched beauty.
S-h-m-i-l-y: See How Much I Love You.