I went to write in a coffee shop one day. As I was going to leave, an elderly woman smiled at me and told me her name. So unused to talking to strangers was I that I passed right by her. Surely she was used to the culture and would understand.
Upon leaving and reflecting I was a bit haunted by the look in her eye, and I realized that my failure to respond would be considered rejection by her. She isn’t from the same time as I am; she seems to be from a time when people were kinder. I then decided to say “hello” the next time that happens. Several weeks later I found out that she was with a group that visited from a group home, and I felt even worse.
A bit later I met a man at a certain grocery store. I like to go there now and then when I can afford it and write while I sit looking out the window. It is a nice area.
The man is young, and he is also challenged in some respect. He asked me all the places I’ve been and told me all the places he’s been. I can tell as well that he most likely also isn’t in touch with the “social norms” and, in order not to repeat the same mistake, I made a point to talk to him. He is positive and friendly, and it made my day so much better to speak with someone who was very wide-eyed and who appreciates other people.
Every person reading this is from a different area with different cultural ways of being. Ignoring people may not be a thing where you are, and there is prudence in doing that sometimes. But there is also charity in simply smiling, giving a greeting, or actually taking a few moments to chat. We never know where the other person is coming from, and often reaching out in “charity” ends up making our own day much better, and we see that it is not really “charity” but an exchange between two human beings, making the world a bit brighter.
May God bless your Day.