Generally speaking, my idea of fun doesn’t include shopping. I find shopping for chairs or couches particularly difficult because, when I’m shopping, every chair seems comfortable. The exception of course is record stores, but there are very few of those around anymore.
Many years ago I was shopping, probably for Christmas gifts, and grew increasingly irritable as the day wore on. Most people I met, sales clerks included, seemed likewise inflected. That is until I met a sales clerk who greeted me with a smile and who seemed genuinely interested in my well being and that the rest of my day be, “excellent.”
Rather than sinking me further into a sea of fruitless shopping her cheery disposition changed mine. I felt very nearly happy, kind of like I had at the start of my day, before it was ruined by shopping.
That night at supper I shared my experience with the rest of my family. My mother looked at me with a frown and said, “You can do for others as that sales clerk did for you.”
Well, I suppose I can. I’ve tried to carry that sunny disposition with me everywhere and not just when I’m forced into shopping. I don’t always manage to be that person, who brightens someone else’s otherwise dreary day, but I try and it’s not that difficult.
A few days later I returned to the story to thank her but she wasn’t there, I never saw her again. Perhaps she had just been hired for the Christmas rush. At thanksgiving we are naturally drawn to express gratitude for God’s creation and the food grown here, but we can also be thankful for people who brighten our lives, family, friends and strangers. And we can express our gratitude with a cheery disposition, brightening the lives of everyone we meet.