Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Strangers and Kind Words

Remember this guy?  The guy who stopped me at the store two years ago while I picked out milk, to compliment me.  The interaction happened at just the right time....

Well Saturday night, I was at the local grocery store again.  There's a lot going on around here, and I felt less than content and happy.  I felt heavy and burdened, and was anxious to get home, crawl into bed with Mike and cry it all out.

As I approached the end of the bread aisle, a man rounded the corner and announced, "Well, I am fascinated by that great ring!" Pointing to my ring he continued, "I make jewelry and that is beautiful, did you make it?"

"No, I said," and couldn't help but smile as I thought about how much I love this particular cheap, gaudy, ring."

I thought the exchange was over, until I felt this man reach out, gently touch my arm and say, "You are a cute little thing."

Who wouldn't smile at that?
Someone telling me I'm cute?
Someone telling me I'm little?!?
And, I have a great ring on too!

In the grand scheme of things, it was a very insignificant exchange, but it really got me thinking.  As I drove home, my spirits were slightly lifted as I thought about the kind stranger.  I wondered if it was the same man as two years ago--and maybe he frequents my local grocery store every Saturday night searching out the ones that need cheering.  Or, maybe he follows the promptings of the Spirit, or maybe he is just extra friendly, and maybe, he isn't even the same person at all.

Whatever way one looks at it, one thing is clear.
A stranger has a lot of influence.
For good.
For bad.

So even though the driver, I called a dumb %$#  the other day, wouldn't have heard me (although all my five children did!), the driver probably could tell the expression on my face wasn't friendly.  And maybe that day that driver may have just needed a genuine smile or a kind wave.

On the whole, I consider myself a pretty friendly person.  I smile frequently at strangers, and will very typically chit-chat in check-out lines, restaurants or a store aisle.  I will frequently stop someone to tell them I love their shoes or their purse.

I don't really ever think about those things--it's just what I do.... sometimes.
Other times, I am grateful other people do it too.

Especially old men at grocery stores who seem to know just the right moments to do it at.
We all need a little validation once in a while, and sometimes hearing it from a stranger is more awakening.

So that is my challenge this week.  Smile a little bigger and a little brighter at someone, and pay them a compliment.  It might just brighten someone's day.

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