"Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body." ... Proverbs 16:24
Way back on last Tuesday I trekked through the snow to our local coffee shop where the young lady behind the counter greeted me with, "And how are you today?" as I removed my coat, draping it across a chair at my usual table, telling her, "Oh, just fine."
Now a teeny, tiny voice within said, "Now ask her how she's doing," (as many times I do), but there I was fidgeting with my coat and gathering my bag with my wallet inside, and everything, and just proceeded to pleasantly, after reaching the counter, ask her for hot chocolate and the orange-berry muffin.
I'm no ogre, after all. Really.
Well, she brought my order to my table and of course I thanked her, then I proceeded to read my books and partake of my breakfast. Later, a bundled-up woman entered the cafe and after Counter Girl asked her how she was, the woman in turn, asked, "And how are you doing?"
Whereas Counter Girl replied, "Oh, I'm doing fine. Thank-you for asking me, though."
Oh my goodness. Right to the heart.
That's how I felt, a bit sliced, and of course, maybe the young woman hadn't meant to phrase her reply in just that way to convict me--or perhaps she did. Didn't matter, though, because it might as well have been Jesus, Himself, standing there some feet behind me, saying, "See? You should have asked her, coat-and-bag-placing not withstanding."
Well. I promised God and myself that next time (and forever after) I'd be certain to ask her or anybody,"And how are you?" And still I felt pretty convicted, even after making certain to voice aloud how delicious everything was before leaving, something I nearly always do.
So Friday came and I'd planned another coffee shop trip, but drats. Via Facebook I saw that, because of snow, they'd be closed. Darn, now I'd have to wait even longer to make up for my error. To show God I could do this. 😉
Sunday came along, Tom went to work to catch up on some reports and I considered going while he was away. But no. At Facebook, Coffee Shop Folks said due to circumstances, etc., this day, also, they'd be closed.
Sigh. More waiting to do the right thing. Well, I began reading a Christian book on Kindle and of course, what did the author say? Pretty much this: always sincerely ask people how they're doing. Wait, pause so they'll know you care. Or ask even better questions than that.
"Okay! Okay!" I told God, looking up from my iPad. "I get it, already. I'll definitely go to the coffee shop tomorrow and speak your way."
Of course you know what happened, right? Yep. Via Facebook, "Unfortunately we'll be closed Mondays from now on."
Oh for Pete's sake. Never ever will I forget this lesson. All the waiting has been rough.
And finally on this Tuesday morning, as I opened the coffee shop door-- after the young Counter Girl asked me how I was--I quickly asked her, "And how are you?" in a I'd-really-like-to-know tone. Then told her, "Oh, I'm happy you're open again!"
Second chances. Sometimes we get them, sometimes we don't. But fortunately we can teach ourselves to slow down, to pause, lest we plow right over that still, small voice which waits always to direct us toward kindness.
"Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience..." ... Colossians 3:12
“Conviction is worthless unless it is converted into conduct.”
― Thomas Carlyle
That book I was reading? Prophetic Evangelism Made Simple. If you often wonder just how to make a difference in this world, you'll love this one (you don't even need to know what prophetic evangelism means). This is the kind of book I prefer--simply-written, easy to understand, with lots of real-life examples. Very uplifting, highly recommended.
Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you — not because they are nice, but because you are.