I find my days are sometimes so hectic and chaotic that I forget to stop and value the simple things. From being a night owl due to my shift, trying to schedule interviews in on days I can hardly keep track of the last time I ate and adjusting to a full-time work schedule--I can get to a place where I seem pretty closed off.
On days where my eyes hurt from looking at a computer screen most of the day, it can be tough to come out of my zombie-like haze when I go home at night. Other days, I want nothing more than to go home and not talk to another soul because my day was so full of crowds or long interviews. .
Last week, I took a later-than-usual dinner break and decided to get fast food so I could get back to work.
Still in my work-mode state of mind, I pulled up to the first window to pay.
Expecting to hand over my money and go through the whole thank-you-have-a-nice-night-too routine, I was caught off guard when the employee stopped, looked me in the eyes and asked me how I was doing.
I replied I was doing okay, (as per my usual robotic response), and asked the employee how they were doing.
Instead of an automatic response, the employee told me they were going through something really tough, and things were hard right now.
Suddenly, I felt the zombie-like haze vanish from my brain, and I realized someone was giving me an opportunity to stop and listen, maybe even to offer some encouragement.
Although still a little caught off guard, I said I was sorry to hear that, and that I hoped things would get better soon for them.
The employee said they hoped so too and handed me my receipt, initiating that I should probably get my foot on the gas pedal and keep the line moving.
I paused, thanked the employee again, and wished so badly that I could find the right words to encourage this stranger.
Tongue-tied, I drove to the next window and wished I had been more aware, perhaps more perceptive.
I couldn’t help but hear a whisper of a thought in my head that I had just had an opportunity to tell someone I would pray for them.
The opportunity came when I least expected it, and probably when I would’ve preferred it not to, but it left me with the inspiration to be more perceptive next time.
I hope the next time you sense an opportunity to lift someone up, through words of encouragement or the promise of the power of prayer, I hope you pause, and take the opportunity and recognize it before it slips away.
As John 13:35 states, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Kelly is a Staff Writer for the Greene County Daily World. She can be reached by telephone at (812) 847-4487, or she can also be reached via email at kslavenGCDW@outlook.com.