Our words don’t take much effort to say, but they can have a lasting impact.
On a recent run, I approached an older man who was jogging. I smiled at his efforts, impressed at him for getting out and exercising his body. He wasn’t going all that fast, but he was running nonetheless. It took effort, discipline, and willpower.
I didn’t say anything as I neared the man for fear of startling him. But as I passed, he uttered three words to me, “Way to go!”
I turned my head to look at him, smiled and said, “You too,” and gave him an enthusiastic thumbs up. And then I continued on my way. Our encounter took only seconds.
I don’t know which way the man went. On my way home when I returned to the point I had seen him, he was nowhere to be found. But his words stayed with me. He had spared some energy and voiced them willingly, wanting to encourage a stranger passing by.
How often in life do we have an opportunity to do the same? It doesn’t take much time, thought, or effort, but our words can make someone’s day. A compliment on a piece of clothing you like. Acknowledgment that you appreciate someone’s smile. A greeting when you come in contact with someone.
A common meme says, “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.” I’d say the jogging man certainly exhibited that kindness. And he made me want to do the same.
Christian, wife, mother of 5, breast cancer survivor, marathon finisher, writer and editor, author of "Help! I'm a Science Project"