|Barked: Sat Mar 12, '11 9:01am PST |
|“ Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses. ”
Proverbs 10:12 (NRSV)
My husband Charlie and I spend part of the year in Sausalito, California. The residents cultivate elaborate gardens where flowers bloom year-round, the bay sparkles, the sidewalks are immaculate, green parks abound, and residents and tourists alike act as if no one else exists.
“What am I, invisible?” I groused one day under my breath, maneuvering around yet another knot of people blocking the sidewalk. Moments before, I’d been all but shoved into the road by a young couple peering up at a mansion on the hillside. And the day before, I’d gingerly avoided two menacing dogs who’d taken over the path while their owners sipped, lattes and compared purchases from a nearby gourmet shop.
I set my mouth in a thin line, gritted my teeth and moved on, staring straight ahead. If I could get through the next intersection, I’d reach the quiet, lovely part of the walk. Suddenly a child started shrieking that her father had bought her the wrong flavor ice cream. I bared my teeth, smiling grimly at this further display of selfishness.
A woman, drinking coffee on a bench, caught my eye and smiled back. It was a pleasant, gentle smile, and it knocked the boulder-sized chip right off my shoulder. She’d smiled simply because she’d seen me smile, and it made me wonder what would happen if I put aside my outrage and acted like who I was: someone out for a walk in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Tentatively, I began smiling at everyone I met. Lo and behold, most, smiled back, some even spoke, and all but one person responded.
And that one person? Well, I’m sorry to say that he reminded me of myself . . . an hour earlier.
Father, help me to remember that I reap what I sow.
By Marci Alborghetti
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