A few days ago I ran into a man from my former church whom I truly never knew that well but remembered him as soft-spoken who always had a warm smile to offer.
When we ran into each other he gave me one of his smiles and a quiet hello, which I returned. But suddenly I wondered if he knew who I was as he seemed to turn back to his shopping and start to move on. So gently touching his arm, I asked if he remembered me to which he again smiled and said of course he did.
Then out of the blue this man begins telling me how he never knew my husband that well (we’d all gone to the same church years ago), but from the little he did know and from what he’d heard from others he could tell my husband was a good man. And he warmly smiled at me again.
His words sort of stunned me since it wasn’t the typical how-are-you kind of conversation which ensues when running into someone you haven’t seen in a while. It seemed so random yet well thought out as if he’d been thinking about what to say. And there I stood with a quizzical look on my face until it slowly registered in me what he was saying and I returned his smile. With tear-filled eyes my words slipped out quietly explaining how the past years had been very hard but how blessed I was that God had brought that good man, my husband, into my life. I leaned in a little closer and told him God’s bringing us together was my saving grace — we had saved each other. He continued to smile, understandingly nodded his head, and told me how he and his wife were very happy for me. I said thank you and we said our good-bye’s going our separate ways.
Walking towards the checkout I was beaming from ear to ear. This man had offered up words to me that were sweet as honeycomb and healing to my very soul. No condemnation, no turning away, no judging — just warm loving words which were meant only for me to hear and understand.
Anyone else standing nearby would not have gotten the meaning of his words. And perhaps there really wasn’t some grand meaning behind what he said, but to me, well those words were a healing, soothing balm for my heart and soul even if he didn’t know it or say them for that reason.
Sometimes the sweetest most healing soothing words can come at any moment in our lives — even while standing in the produce section of the grocery store. We all need a word of encouragement now and then, something to uplift us and perhaps even make us feel validated. I firmly believe God uses people to speak to us.
The beauty of our words can encourage and inspire, just as the ugliness of words can destroy. Choose your words carefully for you never know when someone needs to hear them.
May we all be blessed with the opportunity to speak a little encouragement into someone’s life today, and offer them a warm beautiful smile.