one of my favorite things about the VA is the mornings. the walk from the ground floor to the third floor. and its solely because of strangers. strangers i have not introduced myself to but feel like i know anyways. as i walk inside, i am greeted by “hey! good morning” and “have a blessed day!” and i am not exaggerating when i say that people go out of their way to smile, wave, or make small conversation.
somewhere along the way i became friends with the man who drinks coffee and watches the news on the t.v. right next to the front entrance. i have running joke with the three Vietnam Veterans that sit on the bench next to the information booth. on my walk up to the third floor, there are people who remind me that my graduation is getting near and ask me if i am excited. and my day is always brightened by the cashier who rings up my coffee and responds, “i’m always good” every time i ask him how he is.
i love the mornings because people i am surrounded by people who go out of their way to make sure mine are good.
and it didn’t take long before i started to pick up the habit too.
i’m not necessarily a morning person. but its hard not to be when people are bringing so much sunshine into my life. and because of their simple, tiny gestures of kindness, i am forever changed.
today was meaningful because i looked strangers in the eyes and offered my best smile. i didn’t choose to put my head down when walking towards someone. i didn’t smile sheepishly and avert my eyes. and i don’t dish out barely audible “hellos.” i didn’t immediately start texting on my phone the first chance i had to acknowledge someone’s presence.
i am not sure when it become customary to avoid saying hello to people you don’t know. when the elevators became an absolute silent place. when a place could be bumbling with people, but remain quiet because no one is communicating with one another. of course i understand that it is important to be careful, but there are opportunities on a daily basis to offer up kindness to someone you don’t know through a smile.
i definitely understand that we all aren’t morning persons. it used to take me an hour before i would start “warming-up.” but not anymore. by looking people in the face as you pass by them, you have the opportunity to enjoy other people’s smiles. you have the chance to witness small acts of kindness. and you can brighten up someone else’s day. and when i wish people “good morning” or bid them to “have a good day,” i am sincere. because honestly, i really do want them to have a good day.
i don’t have to go out of my way to be nice. and i don’t have to spend any money. all i have to do is be myself.
today was meaningful because a man stopped me in the hallway right after i had gotten off of the elevator. he said, “miss, i don’t know you, but every time i see you on this floor you’re smiling and look so happy…and it gives me hope.”
wow. who would have known?
never underestimate the power of acknowledging someone’s existence. it’s just a smile. a few kind words. and it really can make all the difference.
and when you try to brighten up other people’s mornings, i guarantee you will brighten up your own.
it’s just that simple.