Monday, March 29, 2010

Smile

There is a older maintenance worker in my building who doesn't have very many teeth left, but each time he sees me he flashes a large, kind, gummy grin. Without fail I always smile back. I know virtually nothing about him, but his warm greetings leave me with a positive impression. In fact, when I spot him from a distance I find myself smiling before our paths even cross, and the smile remains on my face for several moments after our mere three-second interaction is over. He's not this way simply with me, but with most everyone who passes by him.

I want to say that my behavior is much like his when I interact with others. I think of myself as a kind and friendly person and make it a point to greet most everyone on my floor, but honestly, when I spot certain people coming down the hall toward me, I groan inwardly. This is especially true if I have attempted to greet them warmly in the past and they haven't reciprocated in turn. If rebuffed often enough, I just give up smiling or speaking to them. Instead we both do the awkward dance of staring straight ahead and pretending we are the only people in the hallway, kitchen, or elevator. Pathetic, I know.

The thing is, as a Christian, I have much reason to smile, for I know what I have been saved from and what I am saved to. It's okay if people ignore my smile and greeting. It may not feel okay, but it is okay. By God's grace, I have the freedom and the ability, along with the responsibility to be kind to everyone around me, regardless of their response. And since I still have all my teeth, all the more reason to flash my smile!

3 comments:

sheri said...

good reminder. it’s easy to smile when you’re in a good mood and the people you’re smiling to are friendly back. i too often let my circumstances determine my inward and outward happiness though. and that’s not being a very good witness…

Susan said...

plus, we're at least 6 times prettier when we smile

=)

jenny said...

Wow! -Clearly I don't smile enough...