Having just returned from Lancaster County, I have to tell you the following story. It follows my tale about the parking attendant in NYC who gave me a Christmas card.
As you may recall, I have the philosophy that by “being nice”, you can change lives…including your own. It works. Truly. I once gave my students the assignment to be “nice” all weekend and report back the response at our next class meeting. Several of them told me that they simply couldn’t do it while another one said she did it but people looked at her funny.
Well, while I was in Lancaster, I stopped at two stores with my husband. At one, I was looking for more yarn to send to Sherri — sorry my friend, they didn’t have your colors… :-(. But I found a lovely book of Christmas hymns and decided to purchase that. As I stood in line, surrounded by both Amish and Mennonite women, I started chatting with one about something that, frankly, I can’t remember what it was about. We laughed because I commented that I came in with my husband but seemed to have lost him among the aisles and, since he had the wallet, I needed to find him. She thought that was funny.
When he finally emerged and we were at the counter, the older woman looked up and stared at me.
I smiled and gave my usual, “HULLO! How are you today?” greeting.
And she smiled.
“I know you,” she said.
Now, those are not three words that you expect to hear at an Amish store. I know that I travel to Lancaster frequently and have my circle of Amish friends. But I haven’t been at this store but four times before in the past year! And, judging by how busy it was, this woman certainly met a lot of people, both Amish AND non-Amish.
“Really?” I asked. “I don’t think we’ve met before.”
She nodded. “Oh ja! It’s your black hair and easy conversation with everyone!” She hesitated and lifted an eyebrow. “You stay with _______.”
Well, I was quite taken about. First, I don’t have black hair (although it does look darker when I pulled it back, I suppose). Second, she remembered me because of how I interact with others? It doesn’t happen much but, indeed, I was speechless. “I’m so impressed!” I finally gushed. “How did you remember that? You must meet hundreds of people each week! I’m honored that you would recall me!”
She smiled again and we shared a few more words.
My husband laughed at me in the car.
The following day, we went to a grocery store and as I approached the counter, the woman looked up at me and asked, “How’s that kitten you took home with you the other week?”
My mouth fell open. This is twice…in twenty-four hours…that complete strangers stunned me. “How did you remember that?”
Once again, she mentioned my “dark” hair (mayhaps I should go lighter to be less recognizable!!! lol) and how I talked so nicely to everyone. My husband gave me a nudge and whispered, “There’ll be no living with you now!” and walked out of the store while I proceeded to chit-chat with the woman, telling her stories about the abandoned kitten that Sherri had rescued from their parking lot and was now residing in my home.
So you see? I think I’m onto something here. Just by being nice…by being genuinely interested in others…we can make an impact. It’s so much better than sitting at home, thinking of ways to hurt others which, ultimately, hurts ourselves anyway. We have to answer to God for our thoughts and actions. There is no hiding from God, you see. Evil or mean words spoken, written, or even simply thought do not honor our Lord. Instead, kindness and love for all of God’s creatures is what He wants.
I have seen the impact and will continue living my “Parisian” philosophy to life. It’s working…for others as well as me. It’s so simple….just be nice! 😀