Vacation Day 14 – Friendliness

Woohoo! I’ve had such a good vacation and I’m still only half way done! Actually, it’s less than half, because we’re staying longer than just through the first, but still, it’s great! It’s like when you wake up in the middle of the night, and realize that you’ve still got time to sleep. That has got to be one of the absolute best feelings in the entire “first world”. I was speaking with a friend a couple days ago about that very thing, and he said it almost never happens to him. That’s very sad to me. To think that you don’t get to experience the “wakeup psyche out” is a tragic thing. I’d never thought about this until just now, but what if you had someone you know set a random alarm for sometime during the night, just so that you could wake up to it and then realize that you still had time? I think I might could go for that. Think about it, you have your spouse set a random alarm for sometime during the night, and then you set your normal alarm. Your body is used to waking up to that sound, but think about the pure ecstasy you’d experience when you remember that it’s not the actual wake up alarm, but only the fake out alarm. Maybe it’s not as great as it is sounding in my head, but when I get back home and back on a regular work schedule…I might try it.

I’m all for anything that puts me in a good mood, well, anything biblically and civically legal of course.

But being in a good mood is a great thing isn’t it? Tonight, Kari and I went out on a date, it was just a simple “let’s go grab french fries and sit in the car” date, but sometimes those are the best, and tonight it turned out to be true. We went to Runza, a fast food chain here in Nebraska that’s amazing! We got there, and unbeknownst to us, were the last customers for the night. So we ordered our french fries, and when we got up to the window, the man at the drive-thru not just started showering us with food. No, he wasn’t engaging in a drive-thru food fight, but he was just giving us food. We ordered a french fry and a drink, and we ended up getting 2 large fries, a sandwich, a bowl of chili, and 2 large drinks! He never mentioned that it was closing time, but my wife happened to notice that as we were leaving, and then it all made sense. But we were still flabbergasted (I spelled that right on the first try!). It was a great experience though. Even when we pulled up to the drive thru, we were already benefitting from the great service. The person in the microphone was just so cheerful and pleased to serve us. Even at the end of their shift, they were still in good moods (or at least pretending to be).

After we left there, being just so amazed at how neat this experience had been, Kari’s mom asked us to stop and pick up eggs. So we drove to Walgreens and Kari ran in and grabbed them. When she came out she said that the clerk at Walgreens had been in a really good mood also, and then Kari said “we need to really remember how being friendly can brighten someone else’s day so easily.”

Another way to say that might be to say that “friendliness is contagious.”

I know we’ve all heard these types of things before, but isn’t it so true that no matter where you are, if people there are in good moods, that it will often lift your spirit as well? It doesn’t take being overly outgoing, or even overtly excited about anything, but when we are just in good moods and friendly, it acts as a kind of “good virus” that spreads to others around us. We’ve all heard stories of young men and women who were contemplating suicide until someone showed them kindness, and I think that we hear stories like that enough that we become jaded toward them. But it’s true isn’t it? Even in your own life I’m sure you can think of times where someone else’s attitude drastically affected your own. And I’m not even talking about those close to us, I’m specifically talking about strangers. How many times has your spirit been lifted thanks to a stranger? Well, for me, I know it has happened lots during my life.

Tonight it convicted me on a deeper level though, but I won’t go into to it in great detail. These thoughts made me think though, about whether or not I lift people’s spirits. Specifically, I wondered if I portray to outsiders that which I claim lifts my spirit every day. Do I communicate the truth that I have more reason to be joyful than those who don’t know Christ? No, I’m not talking about how often I preach the gospel to others, but I was reminded tonight of the fact that if it’s so easy to help others be in good moods by my own mood, and if it is true that I have the greatest joy imaginable, then am I “infectiously friendly”? Does my gospel-centered approach to life act as a conduit for the “good virus” of a life changed by God? No, of course no life does that always, but the question we need to ask ourselves is “do our lives do that…ever?”

There are passages in scripture that say that christians will be marked by a peculiar love, both for those who are lost, and for those who are saved. Jesus even said that people will know that we are his disciples “by our love for one another.”

It is loving to be “infectiously friendly” to others, because our good moods help others be in good moods, and as we want to be treated, so we ought to treat others. I think a good test for whether or not you’ve found true joy in the gospel of Jesus is to examine yourself and ask yourself if you ever act as that “good virus” for those around you. No, it will never happen perfectly, and we all have bad days. But do you have “infectiously good days”? Do you brighten people’s day simply by the way you act behind the counter? Do you lift people’s spirits through the way you handle stress or unfortunate circumstances? I don’t want anyone to sit around condemning themselves for not being a better virus (see my last post), but it is certainly a question we all need to ask.

I hope that the Lord will bring opportunities for you to brighten someone else’s day sometime soon, because part of our joy in this life, is seeing joy (and ultimately true joy) flow into other’s lives.

Goodnight.

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