I was breezing down aisle after aisle. The minutes were adding up into hours while my sibs and mom sat for eye examinations. My cart was full, and so were all the shelves around me. People were everywhere. I was partially oblivious to all of them, going about my own business. But then, part way through my leisure shopping, it all changed. I was rounding the corner of yet another aisle when I saw two college-age girls merging my way. I smiled and paused to let them go first. To me they were just more passerby’s. I continued down the aisle and up the next.
Then to my astonishment, one of the girls came back to find me. She came straight toward me. Right in front of me, looking into my eyes she said, “We noticed your smile as we passed by! And I hope you have a great day!!!” Then she added… “and it was so kind of you to let us go first!”
Wow. She made an effort to come back and find me just to speak encouragement. Of all people and of all times–I would have never guessed it! I thanked her many times, and told her how sweet her words were. And then she left. And I stood struck. She had just flooded the monotonous shopping routine with a burst that shifted my focus. I felt the blessing of her small gift elevating my own heart, and I determined to keep passing on the joy. I felt huge impact from the small kindness of just a few words spoken. They were simple words, but oh so powerful.
I left that aisle on a whole new mission. It wasn’t so much about shopping any more. I was still loading the cart, but praying all the while that God would give me an opportunity to pass the joy on to someone else.
It wasn’t long at all before I found my opportunity. I was walking along in the fresh produce department. A woman (probably in her 50′s) was re-stocking the ranch dressing. As I passed by I heard her sigh. I don’t know if it was a sigh of discouragement, tiredness, or simply boredom from her mundane job, but I saw an opportunity. I went right up beside her and said, “Thanks so much for all your work. It looks like you are doing a great job!” She looked at me surprised. Her face brightened and she said, “Oh Thanks! You don’t hear that very often!”
I was thrilled. A dear girl had surprised me with joy, and now I watched it beam from this lady’s surprised face!
And then the man behind the broom came through my line at check out. I’ve seen him at this job for years. His eyes are always glued to the floor as he paces back and forth on that all-too-familiar route of his. I lifted his eyes as he passed by me with a few words of appreciation.
How great was my joy! With every opportunity to share what I had been given, the joy grew in me. And I knew more than ever that this is what I want my whole life to be—a continual gift of joy to others, a constant pursuit of ways to encourage those around me at all times and in all places. After all, how could I ever run out of joy and blessing to give as long as I’m in the presence of the Joy Spring Himself?!
I want to always see past the lists and the shelves and the full carts of life to the hearts around me.