A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, June 23, 2014
Be Kind, Take Every Opportunity to Smile!
Have you ever had the experience of meeting someone for the first time, and somehow knowing that this person was not going to be your best friend? Or, any kind of friend at all? I know I have. I’ve met a few people who did not have a positive attraction for me. I describe these people to myself as ‘cat-people.’ When they meet a dog-person like me (yes, I just love dogs!), their ‘fur’ automatically goes up. Negative reaction. When I meet them, the hair on the back of my neck sometimes stands on end.
(In the interest of rigorous honesty, I need to insert this qualification. I grew up with a dog, and had another dog for ten years until I was in college. Yes, I love dogs! And, I love cats, too! My two older daughters have cats. Sadly, I am allergic to these four-footed friends. I really enjoy them, and they often come straight to me for petting, rubbing of ears, and tummy rubs. But my eyes water, and I start sneezing if I’m around them too long. Drat that cat dander!)
One particular situation came to mind today. Or, one particular person, I mean. Again. But I’ll say more about that in a minute.
I had a wonderful exercise class today! Yoga is so beneficial for me, especially the gentle yoga and stretching class I attend. A really positive experience. On my way out of the Y, I went through the large lobby, with several employees at the front desk, and another at the scanning station. I’ve been a Y member for several years. Almost all of these people know me, by sight if not by name. I smiled at them as I walked through the lobby.
In case you don’t know what I look like, I have a friendly, natural smile. My big smile just sort of happens. Automatically. My dear friend, retired Pastor Carl, gave me some excellent advice some years ago when I graduated from seminary. He said I had a lovely smile, and I ought to use it, often. I’ve taken that advice to heart. I do smile, as often as I can! It was especially useful when I was working in hospitals as a chaplain. I often had patients or their loved ones tell me my smile brightened up their whole day. That warmed my heart! And, made me appreciate Pastor Carl’s excellent advice, too.
But for some reason, as I smiled at a whole bunch of people today, a situation from a number of years ago came to mind. Then, I attended a preliminary, adjudicatory meeting. One of the panel in the meeting appeared all buttoned up, somber, almost as if the panel member had sucked on a lemon. This member did not say a word all meeting long, until I rose to get up at the end of my portion of the meeting. Then came the zinger: looking directly at me, “You smile too much.”
God, this situation periodically plays over and over in my mind. I know I need to evict this person from renting space in my head. How much more mental space I would have for things that are pleasing to You! Dear God, I pray for this person. Again, I pray all good things for their family, too. Dear God, help this member in every aspect of their life. Amen. So be it, God!
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