I returned the sales girl’s compulsory “Hello, how are you?” with a genuine smile and my own “I’m well, how about you?”
Then I paused for her answer.
Her eyes lit up as she scooted closer offering a “so great, thank you” before rattling off the deals that could not be missed. I listened, not because I had any intention of spending hundreds on a Kate Spade purse or perfume, but because she seemed thrilled that someone stopped to hear her, rather than rush on by.
Saturday afternoon, I spent the day meandering through the beautiful streets of La Jolla, California, just about an hour outside my own backyard. My husband was attending an athletic competition with friends, and while I’d been invited to join, I decided that strolling the beachside town superseded watching people sweat in an arena.
Starbucks in hand, I savored the quaint shopping, cool sea breeze, and the pure joy of having no where else to be. There was a time in my life when this variety of “aloneness” or even declining that former invitation would feel difficult, awkward and intimidating, but this Saturday was not one of them.
As I wandered shops and browsed for nothing in particular, something surprising began to unfold. I didn’t go looking for it, but quickly witnessed the beauty of meeting others with an open heart.
Kindness can turn strangers into friends.
Breanna at the Kate Spade store moved beyond sales deals and shared her upbringing in North Carolina, her mom’s move to Chicago, and how much she misses family even though she’s fulfilling her own dream of living by the beach.
Sandra at Warwicks, a brick & mortar bookstore, appreciated my good manners when I requested a handle bag for my purchase. She’s so over rude youngsters, and delights that her grandkids, who she’d be loving on that weekend, are an exception.
The gal from hotel housekeeping seemed surprised by my authentic “please, thank you, and have a blessed day,” and urged me not to worry over the extra hour I requested to linger in my room after checkout time.
Friends, I’m beyond guilty of rushing through my days occupied and distracted. But these moments—embracing beauty, spreading kindness, and sharing stories—remind me that as God’s people, we need to stop to taste and see His goodness all around us.
Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see,
how good God is. Psalm 34:8 MSG
Even more than appreciating and embracing God’s goodness for ourselves, we need to invest in others and leave a bit of Jesus wherever we go. Kindness, love, and plain ol’ common courtesy can go a long way in making someone’s day.
How can you leave a bit of Jesus wherever you go?
We can become so focused on what WE think, see, and feel, that we grow desensitized to how much OTHERS need to be thought of, seen, and acknowledged too.
A warm smile.
An open invitation to conversation.
The willingness to listen.
Perfect strangers eagerly opened their hearts and shared their lives, delighting in returning the most common kindness offered them. While I doubt I’ll see these sweet souls again, we shared a moment and parted glad for it. It makes me realize just how much we—human beings—crave connection and community.
It makes me remember just how much we—God’s sons and daughters—have the opportunity and the obligation to provide it.
If not us, who? As we go about our days, weeks, and lives, let’s remember to entertain strangers and welcome them as friends. Let’s even go a step further and invite our already friends a little closer too. It seems the sweetest way to taste and see that God is good. ♥
By His endless grace,
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