Intentional Interactions

By: Ginger Hughes

As Mom and I walked toward the door of the Cancer Center, a woman greeted us with the most beautiful smile and warm “hello.”  Her eyes radiated joy and somehow, I felt her empathy and compassion extend through her words as she asked how we were doing.

After mom’s appointment, we went to lunch—something we don’t often have the opportunity to do since a few hundred miles now separate us.  We walked into the restaurant, the cool air a welcome respite from the Georgia heat blazing outside.  The young woman stepped from behind the hostess stand, took one look at mom, smiled warmly, and asked, “May I give you a hug?”

Over the last few months, I’ve seen this happen numerous times.  Strangers will come up to Mom in the grocery store telling her she’s beautiful, while a scarf adorns her head.  Random people in random places will ask if they can hug her.

Compassion.

Cheerfulness.

Kindness.

I’ve witnessed all of these, and have begun to wonder if I’ve missed opportunities through the years to spread God’s light and love in this way.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve arrived at the grocery store grumpy because the kids have been arguing in the backseat from the moment we left the house.  At other times, I’m in a hurry as I run multiple errands.  I have places to be and feel as though I’m running ten steps behind.

In my state of irritation and hurriedness, I know I’ve missed opportunities to connect with people.  I’ve missed the chance to look people in the eye giving them a warm and genuine “hello.”  I’ve missed chances to connect with a heartfelt “How are you?” prepared not just to hear, but to listen to their answer.  In my rush, I’ve raced past people giving them a cursory glance, perhaps a quick smile, but little more.

Jesus didn’t miss these opportunities.  Jesus always took the time to connect with people.  He stopped at the well and spoke with the woman there, asking questions, listening, and extending grace.  He stopped when He saw Zacchaeus up in that tree, asking him to come down and join Him for a meal.  He stopped on His way to heal Jairus’ daughter after a woman who had been bleeding for years touched the hem of His garment. He ministered to her by looking her in the eye, and calling her “Daughter.”

Jesus made time to connect with people and in those moments, He shared God’s love, mercy, and grace.  Do I do the same?  Do you?

Something about that woman who greeted us at the Cancer Center warmed my heart immensely.  Something about that young lady at the restaurant taking a moment to reach out in kindness, offering a hug, touched me.  These were such simple acts, but they made a profound impact on Mom and me.

What can we do this week to touch another’s heart?  How can we show kindness, compassion, or perhaps cheerfulness to others today?  How can we live a little more like Jesus did, never missing an opportunity to look into the eyes of another and listen to their story?

-Ginger Hughes is the wife of a pastor, a mother of two and an accountant. She is a Georgia native currently living in the foothills of North Carolina. Her passion for writing is fueled by the desire to offer encouragement, grace and a deeper understanding that we are all God’s children. Her blogging for Nurturing Faith is sponsored by a gift from First Baptist Church of Gainesville, Ga. Additional writings may be found at nomamasperfect.com.

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