Recently I asked myself, “would you trade all the smiles you received throughout your day for $100?” I responded so quickly in my heart that I answered before I even knew it, “No!”
I would never exchange the warm connections that I get with other people for any amount of money. These interactions are the kindness of the world.
When it brings someone joy to see me, our connection brings a bit of heaven on earth. When someone is uncomfortable around me, or offers me a half smile, I feel bankrupt.
Last month I was traveling and the lyrics, “People are strange when you are a stranger,” summed up my experience. I was new to the surroundings and longed for the residents I encountered at the grocery store and local markets to reach out to me and make me feel at home. But somehow, I was strange to them. It was clear that I was unfamiliar and though I was able to get some people to return my large grin, most people felt uneasy with my foreignness and looked away or gave me an uncomfortable slight and quick bend of the lips. I was hurt to say the least, and the experience left me feeling very much alone. I couldn’t help but wonder how many “other” people had I failed to welcome with a warm silent chuckle.
In heaven, I believe that we will not have any barriers, even though we will remain unique. God does not make mistakes. What He creates is good and original, as He states in Gen 1:31; and our beautiful differences will exist for eternity in unity.
I reside in the truth of this connection in the midst of all our wonderful variations. I experience a touch of that reality when I exchange an affectionate smile, small talk, or invitation into a deeper friendship with others.
Just by giving a simple smile, doting on my kids in public, or striking up a conversation reminds me that we are one people. Don’t underestimate the value of showing others that you take joy in who they are. You will encounter people throughout your day that are different.
Really see them...and smile!
At the end of the day you will have to answer the same question. Would you trade those glances of affirmation and belonging for anything? If your heart answered as quickly as mine then go out and create some dimples in your cheeks. God loved even when he wasn’t loved. At the end of the day (and certainly after months) I know you will have brought welcome into your community and forged relationships. Love really does change everything.
I don’t know about you but I am willing not only to give up $100 but I’m willing to put all the heart, effort, and humility I have into sharing uplifting love with my brothers and sisters. Why? Because the reward is heaven on earth and goodness (even in the form of smiles) is eternal.