It's the Season!
Then an elderly lady joined the lineup. She was cheerful and chatty. Reluctantly, I was dragged into a conversation with her - just a general conversation about the slowly moving line, the weather, etc. I responded politely, but not enthusiastically to her prompts.
Suddenly, she tilted her head, looked straight at me and said, "This is going to be a hard Christmas for me. My husband died in August."
Now that got my attention. Fast. I looked at her in a new way, wanting to offer some comfort. All I could say was that I was sorry and did she have plans and so on. We chatted a bit more, and this time, I was fully engaged.
Just before my turn came to approach the postal clerk, the lady said to me, "You have a kind face. You must be a very nice person."
There wasn't much more time - all I could do was put my hand on her arm and wish her a Merry Christmas and say, "God bless you."
A fleeting encounter. That's all it was. But I learned a lesson that day. Several lessons, in fact.
1. You never know what people are going through - the hurts, the disappointments, the sorrows. Most people don't share. But there are so many hurting people in this world. Don't judge. Accept people where they are at.
2. Be open. When I was willing to open myself up a little and talk with this lady, we had a pleasant conversation. I know that my life was touched by hers in spite of the brevity of our talk. And I know that her life made an impact on my life. I hope hers was a little warmed by mine.
3. Actions really do speak louder than words. Her last comment to me about having a kind face - I hope I do. But I know that I don't often feel kind inside. And yet I know that me actions, even being polite when I really don't feel like it, reflects what goes on inside of me. And I pray that what that lady saw, and didn't know how to acknowledge, was really Christ's life in me.
4. Plan ahead. And so, this year, as I go about my Christmas errands, shopping and standing in lines, I'm praying for a heart that is open and tender, and for Christ's life to shine through mine.
For more Christmas-inspired posts that address the true reason for celebrating Christmas, visit Melissa at The Inspired Room.