She was standing outside the hospital chapel. She had a worried look on her face. I smiled at her and simply said, "Hello!" Her worry lines turned into a smile. She replied, "Hi, there!" straightened her shoulders and walked away.. down the hall..toward the hospital exit.
I watched her walk away, then I entered the chapel at Pensacola, Florida's Baptist Hospital.
It was very dim. The cross, the Bible and the altar at the front of the room immediately caught my attention. I walked to the front, deposited my bible and devotionals on the front pew, and knelt at the small wooden rail altar.
As I have found myself doing many times during this Chapel-A-Day journey, I asked "Why am I here? Why this chapel on this day?" I continued with my hour of prayer and devotional time. The time spent here was satisfying and peaceful, but not especially enlightening or exciting.
"Well, that's okay," I thought. Not every spiritual venture has to include a mountain-top moment. But, the nagging question stayed with me. "Why am I here?"
As I sat in the pew, retracing my steps, I recalled the hospital employee who stood outside apparently waiting for her ride at the end of her shift. I caught her eye, smiled and said "Hello." She smiled in return and then kept smiling as she turned her attention back to the road. As I entered the lobby, I saw the lady at the reception desk, looking distracted and tired. I smiled, said "Well, good evening! Can you tell me where the chapel is located?" She turned her attention from her computer screen, smiled broadly and gave me spot-on directions, even standing up to point the way. There was the couple in the hallway on the way to the chapel, discussing the serious condition of the person they'd come to visit. I simply looked them in the eye and smiled as I passed by. The smiled in return.. then turned and smiled at each other and grabbed hands.
Then, I thought, "Guess what, Drexel? Sometimes it's not about you. Maybe, just maybe.. today you were led to the chapel in this hospital not because of something YOU needed, but because there were a few people here who needed someone to look them in the eye.. and smile. They didn't need a motivational speech, or a sermon, or a blog entry to read. They just needed a smile."
Have you ever wondered why you cross paths with the people you see each day? Whether strangers or someone you know, maybe... just maybe... there's a very important reason you run into these people. Maybe they need your encouragement. Maybe they need your help. Maybe they need your ear.. or shoulder. Maybe they just need your smile.
The Apostle Paul repeatedly tells us to "encourage one another." The lesson for me in today's Chapel-A-Day journey is to remember that it's not about me. It's all about HIM.. and that means, in part, being aware of what I can do to show Him to others.. sometimes by making someone else's day better, brighter, easier---and it may just start with a smile.