A couple of weekends ago, as I journeyed out with my husband for a much-needed outing of running errands, I made a startling discovery. There is a universal language that crosses all boundaries known to man as it relates to communicating.
The first evidence came as I waited in a long line at our post office to mail some packages. There were unhappy children, frustrated employees, and a problem with a computer. All of those things led to quite a few grumpy people inside the building.
The post office employees called out, "anybody here for a pick-up?" and "anybody here for a passport?" Each time they did, I noticed a young lady in line ahead of me struggled to understand what was being said. She obviously didn't understand English very well and kept turning to others to see if somehow they could communicate with her.
When she turned around, others would look at her with blank stares, and you could see the confusion in her eyes as she struggled to understand. Then I finally noticed it: a pick-up slip. The young lady had been waiting all this time when she could have picked up her package more than ten minutes earlier.
I tapped her shoulder and pointed to the line where the last gentlemen had just gone to get his package. She looked at me, confused. I realized then that she was unaware of what I was saying, so I touched her ticket, smiled, and then pointed to the line again. I knew that she understood because she smiled back and walked off to get in that other line.
When the post office employee took her ticket and walked to the back to retrieve it, she turned and smiled at me. I understood. She said, "Thank you."
The most wonderful part of the story was when her package arrived, and she saw who it was from. Her face lit up, and a smile was evident from ear to ear. Even though the words she spoke were in a different language, her smile said, "I'm so happy to have this package!" When she passed me and toward the exit, she smiled at me again. This time it was much bigger than before. I understood.
So I thought I would have some fun and test this. I smiled at my husband when I got back to the lobby, where he had been waiting for me. He smiled right back. It was as if we were saying, "I missed you! I'm glad that we are together again!" Then I smiled at people as we walked to the parking lot. They smiled back. It was as if we were saying, "Hi!" Some smiled so grandly it was as if they were saying, "Hi and have a great day!"
This was amazing to me. I tend to just do what I need to do when out in public, but this taught me a powerful lesson. I could possibly change the course of someone's day by communicating with them... through a smile. That's a beautiful thing.
Have you smiled at someone today?
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25:40
Father, how can I reflect You at work today? At home? In the community? Help me to remember how my simple words and actions can reflect Your saving work in the world. Amen.
In Beautiful in God’s Eyes, Elizabeth George guides women through the popular Bible verses in Proverbs 31 to show how God defines beauty and reveals His plan for a woman’s success.
Look for ways you can be more attentive to the needs of others. Let your smile cross all communication boundaries.
As you read your Bible, observe God carefully. Learn from His example. And you’ll grow in spiritual sensitivity.