During my first week in California, I decided to take a walk around my neighborhood. I saw people watering their lawns, picking lemons and avocados from their trees, and pruning their rose bushes.
“Wow!” I thought, “I’ve only seen this stuff happen in movies!”
The Smiling Jogger
As I rounded the block, I saw a jogger that was making his way in my direction. As he approached me, all of the familiar city-living internal warning sirens went off.
“Can you see both his hands? Remember, you can use your keys as a weapon. Why didn’t you take that self-defense course when you had the chance!”
As my mind raced, the jogger stopped and smiled, asked me how my day was, welcomed me to the neighborhood and went on his way.
“Well,” I thought. “This is new.”
A Small Gesture
You see, living in a big city taught me that on some level I was supposed to mistrust everyone around me. And for good reason, there are a lot of bad people out there. But there are also a lot of good people in the world, many of whom would love to be smiled at and asked how their day was. The jogger had every reason in the world to mistrust me. He didn’t even know me. But the small gesture to say hello made me feel good!
The experience with the jogger popped into my head this afternoon as I rode the train home from work. I decided to put down my book and look at the person in the seat across from me and smile. She smiled back. And you know what? That felt pretty good.
“A joyful heart is good medicine. But a broken spirit dries up the bones,” (Proverbs 17:22, NASB).
Jael Amador writes from New York.
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