Monday, May 2, 2011
"So, then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught and overflowing with thankfulness." Colossians 2:6-7
I was moving very quickly. My husband had arrived home late and I was hosting special guests just two short hours after his arrival. I flew down to the grocery store and know I would have earned a blue ribbon in speed shopping if management were taking into consideration the stealth with which I maneuvered my cart aisle to aisle. Praying the
entire way, I slid expertly into checkout line 7 in record time.
Unloading my cart, I placed on the belt a beautiful strawberry shortcake and a chocolate cream cheese confection that I really just wanted to dive into, scraping off mounds of icing and promptly forgiving myself for being so impulsive. But alas, I left the cakes covered up neatly and stared ahead of me. Tapping my fingers, I was not in the mood for idle chit chat. I had things to do. The line was moving slowly and I found myself looking around, something I might not have done if my pace had been kept, instead of the Lord's.
Though she tried several times, it was several moments before I truly noted the elderly woman behind me, trying to drum up a conversation. She began, "When are you serving the cake?" We giggled together and I explained that I was hosting some incredibly important children...daughters with the same history and similar story as our younger daughter, adopted from China.
I mentioned with great joy how God had blessed our family. Always a risk, entering such a power packed conversation, knowing there was little time, I felt God's gentle spirit leading me to share just a tad bit more with this kindly woman. She came closer to pat my hand several times as I answered her intimate questions there in checkout line 7. She shared a bit herself, praising God for sustaining her life four years ago, even after doctors assured her and her family that she was not long for this world. She praised Him openly, as did I. The bagger watched us intently, trying to understand our relationship and shot questioning glances at the cashier.
"Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." 1Peter 3:15
The conversation was warm and enchanting in that short span of time, but it was what came next that completely and totally convinced me this was a post for others to read. Somehow leaving one another felt awkward and wrong. We reached to hug one another and embraced for a few moments, it was probably shorter than it felt. But we were aware of the stares from the checker and bagger who finally inquired out loud if "knew" one another...to which we both answered almost in unison, "we are sisters." She, more mature and having navigated the joys of motherhood and grandmotherhood...I, at the beginning stages, relishing in the joys of each moment. Yet, a common denominator in our thanksgiving for the blessings extended by a great and awesome God.
We were fortunate that no other customers piled into Line 7 for it afforded us extra time to enjoy one another and to make an impact on two young grocery store employees. My packages, bagged and I, not quite in as much a hurry as I'd been, I began out of the store, when she touched my sleeve, just once more, and explained how she volunteers to feed and pray for other elderly folks not as capable as she. She said her dad had given her a gift very young in life. He used to say that a smile makes a difference. She said MY smile made a difference, that she wanted to talk to me because I smiled at her. I am not sure I even remembered I had done so, but she went on to say that each and every patient she encounters,she passes along something her dad gave her...she reached into her purse and handed me a small piece of paper, her last one. But she was willing to pass it along and she asked me to also pass it along. I assured her I would.
"A cheerful look brings joy to the heart..." Proverbs 15:30
The bagger followed me and asked, "So, are you going to pass it along?" More times than he can imagine. The small paper said this,
A smile costs nothing , but gives much. It enriches those who receive, without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he can get along without it, and none is so poor, but that he can be made rich by it. A smile creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in business, and is the countersign of friendship. It brings rest to the weary, cheer to the discouraged, sunshine for the sad and it is natures best antidote for trouble. Yet, it cannot be bought, begged or borrowed; for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are too tired or too in a rush to give a smile. Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has none to give.
We know not who we encounter. So often, God asks us to share His Glory, Praise His name and offer Him to those around us. I cannot think of a more beautiful way to share Him than in our smiles. Next time you find yourself in aisle 7, look around...does soemone need your smile?