Summer has arrived. People are enjoying the outdoors and basking in the glory of sunshine. The sun–it gives energy, it refreshes, and it revives. Besides the warmth the sun brings, is there another connection we can make? In my somewhat weird way of thinking, I believe I may have had an illuminating thought.
My father and I enjoy going to his favorite cafeteria most Sundays after church. Sometimes when we visit, I often hear a lady merrily greeting every person she meets, “Hello!”, “Hey, good looking!”, “Hey, beautiful!”, “So good to see you again!” Some may find her annoying or disruptive, I actually look forward to seeing her when we are there. She radiates joy and gives the gift of her presence. When she sees me, I know she will cheerfully greet me. She is a connecting ray of sunshine. So, just what is it about her that makes me feel so special? What can I learn from her example?
Though I have not yet had the opportunity to speak with her with more than a quick greeting, I naturally wonder about her story. What makes her even more intriguing to me is that she wears a red clown nose. Whether the nose signifies that she supports helping children in poverty or that she wears it to have fun and bring excitement to others, I do not yet know—I just find her fascinating. Her presence and simple welcome are priceless treasures to me.
The questions flash in my brain and challenge me. Why am I drawn to this dear lady? What characteristics does she possess that make each person she meets feel valued? Whether or not it is her natural personality, I take the challenge: What influence do I have on others? What unique qualities do I possess that could make someone feel loved? How can I express to others that they are valuable to me? How can I be a connecting ray of sunshine?
It reminds me that every person is extraordinarily unique. Everyone has their own enlightening story. And that makes every individual a significant part of my life, a treasure. If they are sweet and gracious, I am thankful for their kindness. If they are rude and obstinate, I say a quiet prayer for them because I do not know what the other person is feeling or what struggle they may be facing.
One thing I make a point to practice is greeting others. The easiest practice is smiling. A smile changes reactions. A smile can encourage someone who is having a difficult day. And if someone thinks that you smile too much, you still brightened their day! Another practice is greeting or waving to someone across the way. If I recognize someone from work or church, I may introduce myself, which may invite them to say their name. The next time I see them, I do my best to call them by name (or humbly ask them to remind me). As an introvert and somewhat reserved, this is a stretch. Yet I purposefully take a step out of my comfort zone and do it because I want others to know they are special to me. Though I may have no other interaction with them, at that time, I do. Though this simple act may not make any impact on the other person, it impacts and brings me joy.
Our connections challenge for the week: Smile. Look for ways you can be intentional about making someone feel treasured. If you are somewhat reserved, take a step out of your comfort zone, and meet someone you do not know. Go out of your way to impart kindness to another person. Your presence and simple greeting can make an influence on someone’s life. Buy someone their favorite beverage. Give a card if you know they are going through a challenging time. Take a quick walk with someone for a nice break in the day—enjoy the exercise and the conversation. Be joyful and bring delight to someone else! You can be a connecting ray of sunshine!
Please accept my sincere appreciation to each one of you for reading. I am humbled at the number of readers! Thank you so much—I appreciate your encouragement and support more than you ever know.
** Coming in July ** Please join me each Friday for Faith Connection Friday. This will be a new faith-focused series to start the weekend.