How many folks touch our lives over the course of decades? Are we aware and appreciative? Are we careful to recommend quality professionals to help them grow their business? Do we talk and talk and talk or do we take time to listen in return? Do we tell them we appreciate them?
It is not so hard to send a note or ask about their families or health, or notice a new haircut or the results of healthier eating and increased activity. Do we pray for these folks? Do celebrate their joys and take time to acknowledge their griefs,celebrate their victories?
One day I noticed a highly frustrated man speaking to a woman who I had noticed at the Post Office on earlier visits. I always find her knowledgeable, helpful and pleasant. I was fortunate enough to be the "next up" that day and she had really struggled to stay professional, so I quietly told her that I always enjoyed being fortunate it ending up at her window because she was so consistently professional and able. It could not take away the sting of the earlier frustrated customer, but it did get a small smile and we both had a better experience than if I had just ignored her distress.
Often in my professional life I have been struck by how invisible I have felt when offering my best efforts to help someone. In fact, I have been entertained when I ran into a customer in a non-professional setting where they struggled with the fact the I looked familiar, but they just could not bring it together until I smiled and said, "I'll see you at the bank/store/office" to give them a hint.
I have been blessed by folks whose name I never learned because we chose to show each other mercy and kindness in a passing moment. In our current culture where we interact both in person and electronically with dozens of people who have little likelihood over meeting again, it is a particular blessing to make these connections.