Thursday, November 15, 2012

a smile costs you nothing

I know you saw me. But you just walked by as if I wasn't there. It's okay. I'm used to that. Most people do the same.

The ones who just ignore me are some of the nicer ones anyway. If everyone just ignored me, that would be okay.

There's a few who won't ignore me, and the definitely won't help me. They're the ones I dread. The ones I do my best to avoid.

Some people call me names. Or talk about me like I can't hear them. Those are the ones I never get used to.

There's a few people who make my day. They smile. They say hello. They treat me like I'm a person.

I'm not asking anything from you. No money. No food. I don't want your stuff.

I simply ask for one thing that costs you nothing. The respect of being treated as a person. It costs you nothing to smile as you pass me by. It costs you nothing to say a simple hello.

Who am I?

I could be many people.
I might be a homeless person. (I wonder if that's who you thought I was talking about when I wrote this.)
I might be the one who is left out of the group.
I might be the one who is sitting by themselves at church.
I might be your brother or your sister.
I might be your neighbour.
I might be your co-worker.

So often in our culture today we ignore the people around us. We walk by pretending that we didn't see them. Or maybe we really didn't see them. And sometimes we make fun of the person we see alone, whether behind their back or to their face.

This behaviour isn't right when you get down to it. It costs us nothing to treat someone with respect simply because they are a person. But, for the person on the receiving end of our smile, our hello, or our simple acknowledgement that we saw them, we can change their day.

I've been that person who had their day changed by a simple smile from someone passing by. I know it's true, but I don't always do the same in return. I'm deciding that I want to change that.

I'm choosing each day to slow down and look up from my phone long enough to smile at those I see. To take the time to give everyone I pass respect simply because they're people like me.

Anyone else in?

OK, I'm going to do something I don't think I've ever done on my blog. I'm challenging you to join me in doing this for one week. For the next seven days, do this. Take note of how people respond. And what happens for you. Then come back here and share it.

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