A reason to celebrate

Today there is reason to celebrate.  Five individuals I passed on the sidewalk this morning responded to my “Good Morning” with a “Good Morning” to me!  This marks a major change in behavior among people on the sidewalk.  Usually, everyone keeps their heads down and won’t even meet my eyes, much less respond to my “Good Morning.”  But, today … today, five people risked a response.

This continual effort to be civil and pleasant on the streets of DC takes me back to the time when my oldest child was a year old and we would walk the streets of the neighborhood on our way to see a cow that was in a pasture beyond our housing complex.  Each day we would pass the mailman on his route delivering the mail.  Each day I would say “hello” to him and then teach my young son the word “mailman,” and to say “hello” to the mailman.     Each day the mailman would pass us without recognition, comment, or even so much as a smile.

This went on for months.  Then on one of those days, my child spoke his first word:  “mailman.”  And, somehow the mailman was transformed.  He recognized us, smiled at us and responded with “hello.”  It became a great event of each day to meet the mailman and say our hellos.

This experience was a lesson for me in being proactive, not simply reactive.  It was a lesson in continuing.  And, waiting.  And being pleasant, no matter the response.

And today, there was fruit for my efforts.  What a grace it is to receive a simple smile and “Good Morning” from a complete stranger.

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