Abundant Living Vol. XI, Issue 36

“A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.”

Proverbs 15:30 

My friend Steve, who is one of the most gracious men I know, has a certain routine when he dines in a restaurant. When the wait person arrives at the table the first thing Steve does is ask his or her name, then engages them in friendly conversation. I’ve seen him do it time and again, and knowing Steve as I do, he is sincere about the way he treats them, recognizing them as valuable human beings — which is the way he treats everyone. Another thing about Steve is that he keeps a stash of cash in his pocket, apart from his regular spending money, designated to help anyone he encounters who might be in need. But more than that, just as he does with wait staff in a restaurant, he always takes time to engage that needy person in friendly conversation. Why? Steve genuinely cares.

Mother Teresa once said, “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” I make no claim to being anything like my friend Steve, and I am certainly no Mother Teresa, but I am trying to learn from their examples and slowly making some progress. Allow me to share a recent series of experiences.

On a recent trip to Chicago to visit family Tee and I had three separate encounters with strangers, all three of whom, as we discovered, happened to be in need of a caring smile and a friendly voice. The first was a fellow traveler in the gate area at the Dallas airport who happened to be a lone tourist from Kenya visiting the U.S. The second was the agent at the car rental counter in Chicago who had just had an altercation with a rude customer. And the third was a lady who sat next to us on our return trip to Texas, a Chicago native who had recently been transferred to Texas by her company and knew no one. She was homesick and lonely. All we did was be nice, smile, and engage them in friendly conversation. Like Steve, we simply showed them that we genuinely cared.

Another quote from Mother Teresa: “Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.” Or as the writer of Proverbs says, “A cheerful look brings joy to the heart.” And it brings joy to the heart of the giver as well.

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