Thursday, April 11, 2013

#musesofamom: When Hugged by a Total Stranger

As I was entering my favorite department store the other day, I observed two gals, a store associate and a customer, hug each other fiercely as long lost friends, truly thrilled to see one another.  The scene made me smile.  The associate, seeing me, called a cheery welcome to the store.  Not resisting I replied with a chuckle, "Wow I didn't know customers got THAT kind of welcome when visiting the store. Does everyone get a hug like that?"
The customer laughed with me and said, "Well sure!" then reached out to grab me into a big, warm hug.  
The hug was fun and spontaneous, but it was genuine.  I hugged her back like she was my long lost friend too. That hug was the bright spot to what had been a cloudy day for me.

This sweet gal was someone that I never met before, nor did I know anything about other than she appeared to be close to my age; yet I could feel her genuineness from that exchange. She blessed my heart that day by her impulsive and kindly response.  

Later this scripture came to me:

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another. (Romans 12:10 NKJV)

I have no idea of this person was a Christ follower, but her actions were representative of what this verse tells us:

"Be kindly affectionate"  - The Apostle Paul is charging us to be friendly, tender, warm to others, whether they are fellow believers or not.  Some of you may be terrified with this thought of hugging a total stranger in order to "be kindly affectionate", but we can certainly give a smile of appreciation and a sincere "thank you" to an employee who processed our purchase at the store, can't we?  

"in honor"  -  We are also to honor other people in addition to being kind.  This is by appreciating, considering and valuing them.  When at a restaurant, do you give your server the chance to shine by asking their opinion or maybe what they would suggest from the menu?  Instead of giving that minimum tip for their capable service, do you give more? Do you add "I appreciate you!" to the grocery clerk who checks out your order?

"giving preference to one another"  - Giving preference is choosing or selecting something before yourself.  Do you choose to go out of your way to do something or say something to someone else without thinking of yourself first, such as checking on a neighbor that you haven't seen in awhile?  Or what about sharing cold bottles of water to workers laboring outside at your house or even the house next door? 

Be careful though, because you may not even realize who is watching .  

Your kids will see you thank the associate.  And they will also hear if you complain about how long it took for her to ring up your purchase.  They will remember if you made an effort to do something for a neighbor that took time away from what you wanted to do. 

There is too much impoliteness and discourtesy in the world today. With the veil of anonymity that the Internet and social media can bring, it can provide a platform for people to berate, humiliate and vilify others unashamedly and with cowardice.  By exhibiting and teaching courtesy, your kids will learn that doing what Jesus asks of us is more important that having the world revolve around them.

While it may be quite awhile before I hug another stranger, I do plan to work harder at being kindly affectionate, honoring and giving preference to others.  That may be just the type of "hug" someone is waiting for.

Have you had an experience similar to mine?  Please share your story here or add a link to your blog post so we can read about it!