"For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God."

– Romans 8:14

Never Underestimate Your Influence

On an especially cold Ellensburg morning, I was walking to my first class of the day around 8:45 this morning. After a rough night of an approaching cold/cough, you could say that I wasn't too excited to travel across campus for a quiz that ended up taking 10 minutes. But the quizzes are 15% of the grade, so I knew that skipping class wasn't an option. So into the frozen tundra that is the Burg I went.

Just for clarification, the hall that I live in is conveniently placed 10-15 minutes from everything on campus, forcing all that reside there to leave the building 15-20 minutes earlier than most students just to make it to class on time. Add this in with frozen sidewalks and face-freezing wind and you get a pretty nasty combination. All the makings of a not-so-great morning.   But back to where I was going.

As I was walking to my first class I started to think about the goals I had made for this year and changes that I wanted to see take place in my life. At the thought of a few of the changes, I started to feel a little discouraged that they weren't going as well as I had hoped they would. A lot of this had already taken place the night before which may have attributed to the difficulty I found when trying to sleep.

It's just hard to not dwell on the things that bring you down. They take control of your mind and often cloud out any other possible thoughts from cheering you up. It's no bueno fo sho. But this is my didactic message (college words haha) for this story.

Ever have that moment where you're walking down a sidewalk and it's just you on one side but far off in the distance, there's a person that is walking the opposite direction of you? Well that happened to me on my walk to my first class. It's kind of ridiculous how the mind works. At first sign of an awkward encounter, most of us think how we can eliminate that awkwardness by doing something. Maybe that involves crossing the street to the other side, pulling out your phone and acting like you just got a text message, or changing the song on your iPod. Due to where I was at on my commute, the only possibly solution to eliminating the awkwardness was either option B or C. But for some reason I didn't choose either. And neither did the individual walking the opposite direction.

Instead, a smile shown on her face as she walked by. No words, barely any eye contact, just a smile.

It's amazing how much a smile can really change someone's whole attitude on the day. I remember reading a story about how a man had had enough of his life and wanted to end it all. He got in his car to drive to a bridge downtown where he was going to hurl his body over the edge and commit suicide. As he was driving, he was forced to stop at a red light. He looked outside of his window and on the corner of the intersection was a little old lady with a walker. He didn't really give much thought to it except for the fact that she was wearing a grin that showed genuine care directly at him. The light continued to stay red. After a few seconds he rolled down his window and asked the woman what she was smiling about. She edged her walker forward and was a few feet from the car when she told him that he looked like he could use a smile.

The car never stopped at the bridge. He kept going, from this one smile he received at an intersection, minutes before he was going to take his own life.

You never do know what that person across from you is going through. That is why I encourage you to not follow the typical options of avoiding awkwardness. Just give them a smile. You might have a larger impact on them than you might think.

And to the random person that encouraged me with a smile, thank you.


Everyone Has a Story