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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Little Things Count

I used to tell my high school seniors at church to never underestimate the power of a smile or a kind word. In a world where most people are too busy to look anyone in the eye, let alone smile, the “little” gesture of a quick grin or a kind hello might seem inconsequential. But it’s not. It matters.

It used to be that around the holidays people would smile more and exchange friendly greetings. I don't know about you all, but I've seen that change in the last few years. More people are in a hurry, on cell phones, or texting people as they do their rushed shopping.

I was thinking about all this the other day and remembered a story from back in my younger days. (I'm a little sad that I can actually use that phrase ;-) ) This story illustrates just how much little things count.

Way back when, I existed on the fringes of the “in” crowd in high school. I never quite fit completely anywhere. So when we settled back in the States my sophomore year, I took what I’d learned from being an Army brat and put it to work.

How to Make Friends 101 was a hard lesson, learned quickly, when my friendship pool changed often in overseas military schools.

Finding myself back in Kentucky for tenth grade, I decided that instead of trying to find a spot in that elusive “in” crowd, I'd talk to and smile at people from all the Breakfast Club groups. I never thought it made much of a difference to anyone because no matter how much I smiled, I still remained on the fringe of all the groups.

Then I graduated and had to start all over in college. But I came back to my high school for a visit my freshman year and ran into a guy I’d only said hi to a few times when we were both sliding into classes right before the bell. I remembered him being a loner in school and always wondered why he looked so sad most of the time.

It shocked me that he remembered me. Called me by name even. I guess my surprise registered on my face because he shrugged and said quietly, “Sure I remember you. You always smiled and took the time to say hi.”

I’ll never forget that flicker of acceptance in his eyes that day. Or his smile.

A grin and a greeting. Simple gestures. Little things. But it’s amazing how in God’s economy those little gifts yield a huge return.

They make us more like Jesus to a hurting world. And they serve that hurting world as a reminder of a powerful truth. Each and every one of us matters.

So how about you all? Have you been the recipient of a smile and a greeting that made a difference on a hard day? Please share that in the comments!

Also, do any of you all have plans for ways to make little gestures of kindness count this holiday season? If you're anywhere in the Georgia area, I can guarantee your smile to this sometimes hurried mom with three little ones will make a huge difference!


Rachelle said...

You're right, a smile and a friendly word makes SO much difference! Great post.

I think it's so sad how people are too busy being "elsewhere" (on their cell phones, or with their ears plugged up by the iPod) that they aren't able to BE in the "here and now," let alone offer a smile.

Anonymous said...

Wow! This evening I'm introduced to two really interesting people who just happen to write. I'm looking forward to keeping an eye on your websites. Your writing is like a breath of fresh air. Thank you.

Amy Wallace said...

Hey, Rachelle! Thanks so much for leaving a great comment and your smile!

Amy Wallace said...

Sister Chick,

Awesome screen name! ;-)

Thanks for coming to visit and leaving such an encouraging post.

I look forward to seeing you here!

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