Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a warm smile, a listening ear, a kind word, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. I am going to admit that I am one of those people who will hide behind the bananas, scoot over to another grocery aisle, or choose the self check out lane (even if my cart is sky-high with groceries) just to avoid a little “social interaction.” There are just some days when I just don’t “feel” like stopping to say “hello” or have that awkward and fake conversation of “Hi. How are you doing?” … “Oh I’m doing great and you?”. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not because I’m depressed, sad, or on the verge of a mental breakdown, but simply because I like to be an introvert sometimes.
But today I learned a valuable lesson. I was on song number four of my Zumba workout on the Wii and I just wasn’t “feeling” it, so I started to talk myself out of moving on to song number 5…I mean, come on, I had completed four songs already, which was WAY better than the zero I had completed last week, right? So I turned off the Wii and moved on to some household chores, but something started nagging at me to go for a walk instead. I immediately shook that thought right out of my head because it was dreary and a frigid 37 degrees outside (BRRR); however, the nag persisted, so I put on my shoes, grabbed my ear muffs, and mittens and went out the door for a quick stroll around the neighborhood.
I started to walk my normal route but in order to spice things up, I decided to go on a different street today. I had only walked halfway when I looked up ahead I saw a man standing next to his car at the end of the street. I decided that once I got about two blocks away from him I would make a u-turn and head back home in the same direction I had just walked instead of making the full circle around the block. It wasn’t that I was afraid or fearful of the man (we live in a very quiet and safe neighborhood), I was just not in the “mood” for that awkward “head nod” to say hello or the “Hi. How are you doing?” conversation. But as I got closer to the spot where I had decided to make my “u-turn”, something told me to keep walking.
I got closer to the man and I made eye contact with him and smiled; he of course smiled back and said, “Hi. How are you doing?” (I rolled my eyes on the inside) and said, “Doing good and you?” (I asked but I honestly didn’t care 100% on how he was doing…don’t judge…we have all been there). His response was then to ask if my cell phone was working and if he could borrow it to make a phone call due to his phone not having service.
Cue another inside eye roll because I always get nervous when people ask to borrow my cell phone. It’s not like anyone would steal this ancient phone that doesn’t even receive videos or surf the web, but still…makes me nervous.
I went ahead and pulled out my cell phone from inside my pocket and let him know that I had full service and that he was welcomed to use it. While on the phone I heard him ask his friend to bring him a small can of gasoline for his car because he ran out on his way to work and was going to be late. After he was finished with my phone he handed it back to me and thanked me over and over for stopping and showing kindness. We had a brief conversation and I walked away feeling ten times better than before my walk.
I expect to pass through this world but once, any good therefore, that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now, let me not defer it, nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again. ~unknown
As I walked away I thought, what if I had decided to make my “u-turn”? What if I had kept my head down and never made eye contact with him in hopes he would just let me pass him by? What if my act of kindness was the only Jesus he saw today? Starting today I will no longer hide behind the bananas, scoot over to another aisle in the grocery store, avoid the cashier at Wal-Mart, or keep my head down while passing someone on the street just because I don’t “feel” like a little social interaction. I never know who might need something that I can offer to give, whether it is a warm smile, a kind word, a listening ear, or a working cell phone.
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