The benefit of a smile

Recently, a staff member called a donor to thank him for his $5 donation. She expected to leave a voicemail, but he picked up the phone. At first, he thought she was calling to ask for a second donation, and he quickly stated how he had given all the money he could right now. After assuring him the call was only to say thank you for his gift, she asked him if she could pray for him.

He hesitated and then shared how he was at that moment filing for unemployment since he lost his restaurant job due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He asked her to pray for his anxiety regarding the uncertainty of when he could go back to work. Her “virtual smile” over the phone opened the door for what ended up being a 20-minute deep and meaningful conversation.

I know he is not alone. We’re in a time where we all need a smile. Many of us are facing similar situations of job loss, isolation and caring for loved ones or anxiety about our health, finances or emotional needs. But this encounter reminded me there is always time for compassion and kindness … a smile.

We don’t know exactly how each person is handling these strange new experiences, and it’s easy in this time of isolation to focus only on yourself. But how are your neighbors doing? Your single friend who lives alone? Your elderly relative who lives in a retirement community and is not able to see visitors? The stranger in the drive-through line? The worker who rings up your grocery order? We are all in this together and are probably experiencing similar emotions.

Kindness and compassion can go a long way to help you navigate the uncertainties of tomorrow. We may not be able to physically gather at this time, but we have technology to help us stay connected with those we love. Remember to ask others how they’re feeling, ask them for prayer requests and be honest with each other. The conversation will benefit both of you. And when you’re out doing your necessary shopping, remember to be patient and smile to those around you. It might just make someone’s day.

Because no matter what we are going through, there is always an opportunity to be kind.

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32

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