When a Smile is More Than a Smile
Was standing in line at the grocery store today. Short trip, picking up a few forgotten items. Was staring off into space when the lady in the next line over motions for me to go ahead of her. It's OK, I said, but she insisted.
It was a very touching act, the feeling of which words cannot adequately convey.
Touching, because a complete stranger noticed and cared enough to reach out. Inspiring, because that single, simple act, became more than that the instant it was offered. It brightened my day. I left the store with a smile. Smiled at the three random strangers passed along the way to the car, two of whom smiled back. It created instant goodwill amongst complete strangers that likely grew stronger with time.
What a beautiful lesson. We often get lost in thought as we carry out mundane activities. While we're doing one thing, we're thinking about something else - reminiscing about past events, worrying about the future, trying to remember all the things on the to-do list.
We forget to stop and truly live in the present.
We also forget that the way we CHOOSE to interact with those around us has a tremendous impact than we often underestimate.
That in passing a stranger on the street, a furrowed brow because of other worries, can be misinterpreted as distance. Dislike. But the same situation, done with a smile, though unexpected, contributes to the sense of community, and may lead the receiver to pass along the good feeling.
The act itself doesn't matter. It is often the simple, unassuming acts that don't seem to matter much - it didn't really matter if I got out of the grocery store a few minutes earlier - that are most priceless for the potentially endless spread of goodwill among those who receive and pass it along. And all we need to do these things, is to remember to be present.
I'm sure the kindness behind the grocery store lady's initial act continues to ripple this afternoon.
I know it has, for me.
“Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless.”