There are at least six major supermarkets to choose from when I contemplate my weekly foray into the grocery world. Sales and specials attract me toward one. 'Double coupons' seduce me toward another. The free blood pressure machine draws, too.
But usually I gravitate toward the store where there is an employee who regularly acts as if she is glad to see me. She stands out like a lighthouse on a rocky, barren coastline. She radiates hospitality.
There are few like her in the marketplace. The rest offer the mandatory eye-contact and "hello" required by the management. I admit that eye-contact is better than nothing, but not by much. Mostly these folks appear as to be grim functionaries, just making a living.
One day I lingered to investigate the source and power shining from this girl that I had labeled the Lighthouse. I complimented her, telling her how much I appreciated the warmth she exuded, and what a difference it made.
Then I pushed a little further, inquiring how it was that she gave so much, so warmly. I was hoping, of course, that she would say, "Well, I'm a Christian."
Instead, "Oh, I get it from my dad," she quipped breezily. "He's the same way."
True, some traits are carved in the genes, or learned by example. They're natural. But as Children of Hope, we must go beyond that, to display something extraordinary in the marketplace. We can, and must, see our place in this world as a calling to be different. Merely doing what comes naturally may not be good enough.
Another example: While traveling in Utah a few years ago we stopped at a gas station. The car was serviced, the family refreshed, and we sped on our way again. A family member commented, "Those people running that station sure seemed different." Everyone agreed. They exuded conscientiousness, courtesy, kindness and helpfulness. Then it dawned on me — "We're in Mormon country. Their religion makes them different." Whjle I do not agree with their theology, they nonetheless blessed us by their lives and the way they treated us.
The world hungers for personal attention, caring service and unsolicited kindness. The drought deepens. Showers of such blessings sprinkle down rarely. Loneliness and hardness, harshness and indifference, fear and worry — all of these describe humanity. There is so much need for spirit-lifting, heartache healing, attitude adjusting, confidence building warmth and friendliness.
A friend of mine told me of a customer in his store one day who was wearing a colorful button on her lapel. It read, 'Act Like You're Glad To See Me'
I like that! That is a great button! The human race cries for more such performances..
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