Have you ever been walking down the street or in a mall or something somewhere and happened upon someone who looks familiar to you, and though you can’t recall where you know them from your “spirit” lights up when you see them?
I love Maya Angelou’s quote. It’s one of those truism that can’t be denied. If someone has gone out of their way to acknowledge you or make you feel special in some way, that kindness becomes a part of you, and when you see them again what’s inside you starts to glow.
I’ve been trying to think of the most unusual example of that in my life. I didn’t have to think very hard. It was something that happened in a Sunday School class probably 25 years ago. As with all Sunday School classes, at some point you hit the “Fruits of the Spirit” study, and as we were sharing in our group one Sunday morning, I mentioned that I had always wished that I were a more gentle person. I’m not even sure what I meant by that, but it was a feeling that just seemed to swell up inside me at that moment. I remember trying to explain, though I can’t remember what I said.
But across the circle from me a man named Les who was in the air force and whom we knew fairly well, spoke up in disbelief and said he had ALWAYS seen me as a very gentle person. Especially as I was working with the kids at church.
Even now when I think about it, I can feel my face blush. It was such a vulnerable moment to admit that I felt that way, and here was Les affirming something in me that I couldn’t see in myself. And though I haven’t forgotten Les, to this day when I see him and his wife MaryAnn, that’s the first thing that comes to mind for me.
We often don’t see those positive things in our lives and our personalities. I personally think our culture is weighted in the direction of focusing on our failures. We are a driven people who demand of each other and ourselves that we get it right the first time. Whatever IT is. Even when it comes to just being who we are.
That comment by Les was another life altering moment for me. I realized if one off-the-cuff remark could bless ME that way, what kind of power did it give me to bless other people? Do I always make the most of the opportunities I have to do that for others? Sadly, no. But I remember a whole lot more than I forget.
So your assignment for today? Go affirm someone! You never know what kind of ripples you’ll get when you drop that pebble of affirmation in their pond. Those concentric circles that bloom can cross a large pond and touch a lot of other lives.
HOURS LATER: Oh dear… Somewhere in the middle of that I forgot what I was actually posting about! Hopefully you got my drift. We should always practice the art of affirmation, but the point of the piece is exactly as Maya Angelou says, even if folks don’t remember your name or who you are for sure, or even where they know you from, that spark will always be there and they WILL remember how you made them feel once upon a time.