Challenge 3 – A Smile and Some Change

…and His banner over me was love. ~ Song of Solomon 2:4

What would a day be like without someone offering a smile and a hello?

Several years ago, I was at a low point in my life. I was in a very bad relationship that had damaged some of my family relations and a few friendships along the way. I was working full time at a job I hated and taking night classes three hours a night, four nights a week. I was completely broke, financially and literally – every credit agency under the moon was after me, I had broken my ever so useful right hand and was in a cast up to my elbow, and when I was at home, I was completely miserable because of the jerk waiting to break my heart and my spirit at any given opportunity.

I remember one day, I had to run by the junior college bookstore during my lunch hour to buy scan-trons for a final I was to take that night. I only had one five dollar bill with me and my checking account was drained. I had been having a particularly bad day, I won’t go into details, but I felt like it had been a really long time since I’d even smiled. It was a hot day, no a/c in the car…I think you get the picture.

As I was pulling up to the last stoplight just before the school, I saw a man standing in the median, holding a cardboard sign and asking for money. Naturally, he was standing right where I would be pulling up to stop. I glared down at my steering wheel, willing the light to turn green. He saw me veer into the left hand turning lane, and as I came to a stop, he began walking toward the car. I continued staring down, doing my best to avoid making eye contact with him. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched him walk right in front of my car, holding his sign out in front of him. He stopped directly in front of me and stood there. I couldn’t believe this guy! I lifted my eyes to give him a “Get-away-from-me-and-my-car” look of annoyance. But when my eyes met his, he held my gaze for just a moment and then he flipped over his cardboard sign. On the back of the sign, he had drawn a big smiley face with a purple marker. He smiled at me and made a funny face.

I melted.

A huge smile slowly spread across my face. He gleamed. As the light turned green and the traffic started up again, he took one step aside, leaned in toward my window and said, “You’re going to be okay.”

I continued the drive to the school in sort of a daze – I couldn’t stop smiling. I was almost giggling. For the first time in a long time, I felt an internal warming of my soul. For the first time in a long time, I felt the slightest twinge of excitement about my future. I had been given a message. I had been given hope!

At the bookstore, I found the pack of scan-trons I needed and took them to the purchase counter. The clerk was a fellow student who said that a girl had come in just a few minutes before and bought a pack of scan-trons, but only needed a few. She’d left the remainder of the pack at the counter and said to give them out to anyone who only needed a few. I only needed one. So the clerk gave me three.

And I still had my five dollars.

I left the store and drove back around the block to the intersection. With tears streaming down my face, I pulled up to the man and told him that he was the first person who’d made me smile in a very long time. I thanked him for giving me a glimpse of hope, and I gave him my last five dollars.

I think too often we are in such a hurry to live our own lives, that we forget the warmth and peace that can be offered just by taking a moment to acknowledge the people rushing by us. Maybe they need to slow down and remember to smile. Maybe they need someone to give them a reason to smile. Maybe we need to make more of an effort to become that reason to smile – that reason to have hope and to make a change in someone’s day.

So this brings me to my next Two Week Challenge:

Challenge 3:

For the next two weeks, make a conscious effort to acknowledge every person you pass by. Make eye contact with them, smile and say, “Hello.”

It may seem easy enough, but I have a feeling it may be more difficult than you think. Have you ever noticed just how many people walk with their heads down in an effort to avoid everyone around them?

Encourage others to lift up their eyes and smile.

I lift up mine eyes to the hills, from whence my help cometh.~ Psalm 121:1

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. ~ John 13:34-35

God bless you all and enjoy the challenge!

About Carrie-Anne

Mother, wife, writer, infertility survivor, lover of sunflowers and sunshine and chilly rainy days on mountains and in my spare time I'm a mechanical engineer...

6 Responses to “Challenge 3 – A Smile and Some Change”

  1. What a beautiful story of grace and provision!

  2. This was so beautiful…. I loved it. You may want to consider being a part of this weekly group. The does exactly this kind of thing….Thanks for the challenge!

  3. This is wonderful … I literally got goosebumps as I was reading. It’s a wonderful post to link up with “Motivational and Inspirational”~ thanks for sharing! I’m going to spend some time looking around your wonderful blog.

    Many blessings…

  4. Beautiful post! I really needed to read this today. Things have been pretty rocky for me lately, and your post made me realize I haven’t been smiling, either. I’m going to turn that around, though – starting today. Know that your post touched someone and helped them make it through a tough time šŸ™‚


  1. The Twenty-Six/Two Week Challenge Project | twoweekworship - June 27, 2011

    […] June 28, 2011 – Challenge 3: A Smile and Some Change […]

  2. The Twenty-Six/Two Week Challenge Project | twoweekworship - June 27, 2011

    […] June 28, 2011 – Challenge 3: A Smile and Some Change […]

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