Picture this: you’re standing in line at the grocery and the cashier starts small talk with you. Your mind is going 100 miles a minute: “did I get everything for that recipe? oh, I need to call so-and-so back…shoot, i need to write that down (I’ll never remember it), and I only have–wait–where’s my phone?–I only have 3 hours until I pick up the kids from school….” All this– and the guy behind the counter wants to know how your day is. (Can’t he see that I’m busy thinking about things that don’t matter?) 😉

First thoughts: “please don’t add another thing for me to think about. I’m overflowing with thoughts already.”

Second thoughts: “its good. Thanks!” :) (then back to hyperdrive in my mind).

But as the cashier continues to “prod” I find myself actually happy to escape the crazy list of to-do’s and to-don’ts- to experience the PRESENT even if only for a few moments and even with a complete stranger. Its kind of weird but true. I am somewhat “slow to warm up” trust-wise to complete strangers and it is definitely not my first response (unfortunately) to chat about the weather… not because I don’t love and care about people around me (and the weather that effects them), but simply because I have so many deep thoughts parading through my brain that I’m at a loss of what to say for small talk. But to be even more honest, many times I am assuming that the cashier truly doesn’t care how my day is or what I’m doing this afternoon. (He probably doesn’t…right?). My thoughts: He doesn’t know me so of course he can’t really “care.” He’s probably just bored. Well, I wish I had more time to sit and chat… but can’t he see I’m “sooooo busy?”

(aren’t we all “sooooo busy”)?

I think I’m wrong. Maybe he does care? And maybe we ALL should. Are we really so preoccupied and self absorbed in our own day-to-day that we don’t have time to care about complete strangers and their days? If love and caring is my “light” to the world, then preoccupation with the day-to-day is the lamp shade. I have to tell you: the cashier I encountered yesterday changed my whole day. I saw an example through him of what it looks like to care about complete strangers. Thankfully his light was on a stand for me to see. I left the store with a high-five, a huge smile and an urge to change how I interact with the people I randomly encounter each day…hence the reason for this post. 😉 Just imagine if we were all that way. What if we all reached out just a little more? What’s the worst that could happen? Someone NOT talk with you? I’m pretty sure we could handle that. 😉

We all have a light and it actually does shine. What we do with it is the hard part. Life is too short to keep to ourselves! The list of things to-do will still be there tomorrow. Get out there and share experiences with others. You might change the world– one happier person at a time.

Luke 11:33
“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.

“this little light of mine… I’m gonna let it shine…” 😉

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2 Comments to life lessons from strangers

  1. I agree, Elizabeth. We should all just follow the examples of those sweet little girls that you take pictures of….Love, Mimi

  2. I couldn’t agree with you more, my sister. You never know when you’ll be the much needed light to someone’s path, so as the song goes, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine! Love you!

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