I HAD JUST FIST-BUMPED the young lady behind the counter at the fly-fishing shop in the Ozarks.
I did it a few weeks ago, when we checked in for an overnight stay in a room near the trout stream—me, my son, and a friend visiting from Germany: Hannes. I remember joking with the lady and thanking her for letting us into the room early. I said something like, “You guys sure are on the ball.”
Then the fist bump.
As we walked out, Hannes turned to me with a big grin and said, “You always do that wherever you go, making people smile.”
I didn’t realize it.
But now that I think about it, I do tend to keep it light-hearted when I’m dealing with strangers.
It’s not on purpose. I don’t go into the post office, or a store, or a barbershop thinking, “I’m going to make that sourpuss smile.” It just works out that way.
While writing that last paragraph, I took a phone call from the company that is trying to keep my lawn alive in this Kansas heat. They wanted to ask me four questions about the quality of their service. I had to rate them on a scale of one to five.
I gave them a five all the way down the line because my lawn is still alive.
At the end, the lady asked if there’s anything they could do to improve their service for me.
I said, “Yeah. Do it for free.”
We both broke out in laughter. She rolled out three waves of laughter.
I wasn’t intending to do that. The words just occurred to me, so I spoke them.
Actually, there are times when you don’t have to say a single word.
I was flying with my wife, daughter and her six-month-old son, coming home from visiting the Ohio family. I wore the aisle seat. Just cross the aisle from me sat a man who had been working seriously on his tablet for the entire trip. Stern-looking.
I looked over at my grandson sitting on his mom’s lap by the window. He was looking in my direction. He broke out in a huge smile. That’s what he does. He’s the smilingest kid I’ve ever met.
But he wasn’t broadcasting his smile to me this time. He sent it past me.
I looked across the aisle, and there was the man still staring at his tablet. But he wore a huge smile.
He took a happy hit from a happy kid.
When a baby smiles at us, it’s almost impossible not to smile back.
And even when a grownup smiles at us, it’s tough to resist cracking a smile, too.
When that happens, the world is a better place…if but for a moment.
“Happiness makes a person smile” (Proverbs 15:13).
But I’ve discovered that a mere smile makes a person smile.
So I’m trying to smile more, now that my friend Hannes alerted me to how it affects even the total strangers around me.
Bible Gateway asks Steve questions
If you missed reading Bible Gateway’s Q&A interview with me, here’s the link.
Bible Gateway is the go-to place for reading any number of Bible translations online. I use it every day.
Find a mistake, get a free book
My best volunteer proofreaders have finished (or in some cases nearly finished) proofreading my beta edition of Genesis and Luke in the Casual English Bible.
They all got a free book for their trouble.
I’m making that offer to everyone else with a Stateside address, as long as my supply of giveaway books lasts.
If you can find a typo or any other honest-to-goodness mistake anywhere in the Casual English Bible books of Genesis or Luke, let me know. I’ll trade you a mistake for a book. I’ll mail you a signed copy of one of my books; you’ll have several titles to choose from.