Have a nice day!
How often have you heard that? Delivered by a telephone solicitor or cashier, it often sounds perfunctory and vapid. My response is typically a weak “you too”, delivered with the same amount of enthusiasm I usually reserve for flossing my teeth.
The other day while driving to work someone laid on their horn and gave me the finger for slowing down. What they weren’t aware of was that I was trying to avoid hitting some trash in the road. So while I loudly questioned the offender’s parentage as I was sticking my head out of my window and shouting, I realized that I was now the offensive driver.
Recently returning home from vacation, we stopped for a quick meal at Whataburger® in Clanton, Alabama. When I ordered my meal, the young lady at the counter asked me if I wanted to “Whata-Size”® it. It seemed liked a good idea so I agreed. When I received my soda cup it was reminiscent of a 55 gallon drum and of course being in vacation mode, I felt the need to joke “wow Whata cup!” No laughter. Not even a smirk. I could have been standing there with my hair on fire and likely not gotten her attention. But we were ON VACATION and everything was funny and fun. At least to me.
So what does all this mean? You have to be there. You have to be ‘in the moment’. I have a friend that I haven’t seen in years and if I called her today and said “DUCK!” she would likely double over in laughter. There was a moment 20 years ago that that was funny – you had to be there.
How often do we encounter people and find their mood or reaction to us indifferent or offensive? How often do we mechanically respond with “you too” when someone wishes us a good day? My wife who is much wiser and more empathetic reminds me that we can’t know what another person might be carrying in his or her heart. Our job as Christians is to be Christ to one another.
This is my daily struggle. So I trudge along in life trying to remember that the rude store clerk might have just found out that she has cancer. Perhaps the overly exuberant telephone marketer may have just fallen in love. It’s possible that the dim-witted kid at the 7-Eleven might be flunking his mid-terms. That the angry old man… (Oh wait, that one’s me.)
The point that I am trying to make is that we need to realize that we are all affected by our circumstances. Your good day might be might my worst day. And my ‘good news’ may arrive on a day that you’re barely hanging on.
So the next time someone says, “you’d have to be there” – try to “be there”. LISTEN. TAKE TIME. AND BE CHRIST to another person for just a moment. I promise it will change your life.
And have a nice day!