On my way up a nasty hill I saw, coming downhill toward me, the familiar face of a lady I often saw early in my "fitness journey". I'd usually pass her as she walked, pushing her grandson in a stroller. At the end of my route, we'd pass once more, me walking up the big hill as she was returning home going down the hill. Always, we'd share a good morning and sometimes a sentence or two more.
Today I waved at her as she approached. She waved back and said something to me but I couldn't hear because of my headphones. I removed the plug from my ear and told her "Merry Christmas" guessing that perhaps that's what she had said. She shook her head and said smiling at me..."AMAZING!!"
I think she was commenting about my running a stretch of pavement she used always to see me walking but I think something else was AMAZING. That she, a virtual stranger, would cheer me, another stranger, on my way up a difficult hill. She could have just waved back and kept on walking but she took the time to verbally pat me on the back and then repeat it after I'd not heard her the first time. You know what else is amazing? That that one word is still making me smile here at the other end of my day. One well-placed, well-timed word from a stranger.
I wondered then how many words I'd neglected to utter today that could have had the same effect on someone heading up a difficult hill...maybe the teacher who was working the after-school shift at Target after working all day teaching kindergarten, or the little girl who displayed a good attitude in the face of extra spelling words this morning, or a friend who is enduring an insanely difficult job.
Silence is precious to me. It is so much easier to walk on by. Often I don't really want to know when the cashier's shift ends or what my four year old thinks of the episode of Dora she watched this morning, and it's scary to ask a teenager what he or she is thinking sometimes.
It's not all about me is it?
Oh, let me not be stingy with my words. Let me be sincere and generous with them so as to build up and spur on, not so I'll have something to pat myself on the back about, but because of the game-changer it could well be for another someone's day, loved-one and stranger alike.
Care to join me? We'll cover so much more territory that way...one AMAZING word at a time!
A word fitly spoken
is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.