As I drive through the back county roads of Southern Iowa, often I pass oncoming traffic and give the one or two finger ‘howdy’ or farmer wave and about half the time I get a similar response. On rare occasions, someone waves at me first and I even got an arm in the air wave once from an older truck driver. Its not much, and really doesn’t cost any more energy than whatever else we are doing, but taking the initiative to give a wave to someone passing by for a second on the highway seems to boost spirits for a moment when someone acknowledges you exist, or reciprocates your greeting and waves back. But, what if you wave and it is not returned? Do you quickly condemn that person, or just assume they were occupied with something else, or are you able to forgive them? It doesn’t seem like a big sin…not to wave back at you, but you might take it personally. Maybe that’s why most people don’t put themselves out there and wave to others, because of the fear of rejection, who knows. Give it a try and see what happens.
O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. Psalm 139:1-4
“How’s it going? Good, you? Good.” Unless you are a famous personality, most all of us like being recognized and acknowledged. We may not always have time to engage in a lengthy or deep conversation, but even just passing someone in the hallway at work, or in the store and saying hello is a quick and simple way of saying “I see you, and want to acknowledge your presence.” If all we ever do is just say hi to others and never engage in deeper conversations, not only with strangers, but with those we know and trust, then we would just be shallow people. Anymore, with the constant demands of work and family life, I don’t have as many spontaneous opportunities to have more profound conversations with people I know and even care about. I almost need to schedule a time to sit down and have those purposeful conversations. Most of us like to be acknowledged and to have someone who cares listen to us. Does that happen regularly in your life? Do you trust God to fill those roles as well?
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25
So, the next time you see a stranger passing by, remember it doesn’t take much to give a simple wave or to say hello, as it may be all that’s needed to remind them they are loved, or at least recognized by someone else. And if they don’t return the same greeting, it may be a good chance for you to practice forgiveness, or even to pray for that person you may never see again. In reality, the risks are not great for you, but the rewards might be significant to them. God only knows.
Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ. 1 Peter 5:14
Yours in Christ,