Monday, November 2, 2009

Humbled By A Smile

A few weeks ago I was driving down a side street in Smithfield, lost in my own little world. I was worrying about a few things, pondering a few things, and distracted by a few things. The feeling of being overwhelmed by the challenges of life was no doubt showing rather clearly on my countenance. (Despite the best efforts of Cover Girl!)

Coming toward me on the sidewalk was an elderly, poorly dressed African American gentleman who was carrying a small bag that looked like it might have contained all of his worldly possessions.

I checked out of my worried and overwhelmed mode just long enough to momentarily register him on my brain's radar and think, "Poor guy. He sure looks like he's had a tough life."

As I was looking over at him, I suddenly noticed that he was looking right back at me! Before I knew what was happening, he threw his hand up in an enthusiastic wave and then bestowed on me the biggest, brightest smile ever recorded in the history of smiles. The fact that his smile was missing a few teeth just made it shine all the dearer.

Although I was a bit taken aback by this unexepcted display of uninhibited friendliness, I managed to smile weakly and wave briefly before driving by.

But driving past him didn't succeed in removing him from my thoughts. I tried to put myself in his shoes as he saw me sailing past him in my modern, comfortable mini van, sipping a beverage, driving toward a warm house, contemplating sleeping in a safe, soft bed.

I could just imagine him getting a glimpse of my distracted, downcast countenance and saying to himself, "Now there is a lady needs some cheerin' up."

And so the man with few outward blessings took the time to raise a hand and a smile for a woman whose blessings are innumerable.

The blessed, crabby woman. The not-so-blessed cheerful man.

Yes, it is possible to be humbled by a smile.


The Question and Answer Spot

Q. Hi Becky -I am going to be driving through Manteo next Sunday on my way back to Raleigh-Durham (Carrboro) before I fly back to Salt Lake. Depending on what time my family decides to leave Hatteras I may make it to Manteo in time for church. I Question - what is dress for your church? I'm a PCUSA Presbyterian and we're pretty laid back, but I was Mormon for 1.5 years who are the opposite. -- Brooke

A. Brooke, it would be great to meet you! Church is at 10:30 am and you can wear whatever you're going to wear to travel in. Although Steve wears a sport coat and tie, the basic dress code is fairly casual.


And speaking of Manteo, here is a photo of me and my two fellas hanging out at our cottage on Saturday night.

9 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

MaryH said...

Becky, I love that story - thank you. You know, my sister was just telling me about the homily at the Mass she attended this Sunday. With the recent loss of my good friend, Patti, I especially appreciated the message she heard on Sunday. The Mass this Sunday was to honor and remember all the parishioners who had gone to Heaven since last year - it was the Feast of All Saints Day in the Catholic calendar. He said that we need to not focus so on the ancient Saints of the Church - just look around you, embrace and understand the Saints God has put right here, right now, right in our lives, in our present time, in our difficult world and who know the trials of our time. Those are our real Saints - without all the glorification and canonization, these blessed people show us the way of faith and the way of this world and do it with such love and honesty and compassion. We need to open our eyes and understand who the saints really are - they are among us! What a wonderful thought - I have been blessed in my life by more than I deserve that I can title "saint" - there are a few on blogs, also! God works in mysterious ways. I am glad you were humbled by a smile, but I have a feeling, that gentleman was very, very protected by God.

Lisa said...

Love the picture! The post was pretty sweet, too!! :)

Nancy said...

When our friend James was still alive, he would always smile and wave at us. He would sit at the stop sign near Safeway and wait for passer bys to help him with maybe a little change and a smile. When I could, we would give him change.
Each time as we passed James, he would smile his smile, and would say God bless you. He'd say it for everyone.
James is my Moms best friend son. He was homeless and living on the streets.
Yet, he seemed like the most loving person in the world, and the happiest at that.
James was murdered this past summer. A kind gentle soul who had it far worse off than most of us. He always gave us a smile.
James was the richest man inthe world.

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