I remember watching my parents just randomly talking to people they didn't know. And I remember being slightly embarrassed thinking oh those people may be busy you should leave them alone. Not that my parents were saying bad things, it was usually a compliment to them or maybe their child. And I really think my Dad whom doesn't travel at all knows everyone, or at least he thinks he does. He says, Hey do I know you? But for some reason it would make me uneasy that they would just talk to random strangers.
As I got older there were times when people would stop me and tell me what a beautiful child I had, that she was sweet or precious - and that just made this Mama's heart beam. A Blessing from God. But I've also found that people will just start talking to me. So I listen, I guess I figured they needed someone to talk to.
One day while visiting an aviation museum, I stopped in front of a particular airplane reading about it's function in WWII. An an older woman stopped and started telling me a story of how she and her brother were in WWII. She was a civilian working the radios and he was a fly boy on one of the bombers, and flew this type of airplane. She told of how they would go out on their missions and she would wait to hear her brothers call sign to come back in. I could tell that she was reliving it like she was there at that very moment. Suddenly she stopped and looked slightly embarrassed and apologized for rambling on.
I told her no apology necessary I was enjoying the story. I don't know if I needed to listen or she needed to talk, but I've never forgotten it.
Now I'm a little older, and a little bolder, I find myself just randomly speaking to strangers. Flash a smile, give an encouraging word, or compliment, or help them if I know how. And I ask myself, why do I do that? Is it because I'm bolder now as I'm older, or is it that I've slowed down enough to be in the moment. Have I taken the focus off myself and taken the time to look around me. By not focusing on what has happened or what is going to happen, but by being in the moment helps you to not miss a blessing that God may be trying to give you. Maybe even from a stranger.
I'm a Martha most of the time. I've got places to be and things to do.
Luke 10:38-42 (NIV)
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
And even though I am often told I'm a good listener, I'm also guilty of constantly planning my next move. There needs to be balance. It's important to pay attention to what needs to be done. But it's also important to be present and love on those around you, whether it's Jesus or a stranger.
The light of Jesus will shine through you if you let it. Your smile, kind word or listening ear, may be the only Jesus they will see.
I pray you find a stranger to compliment.