"Achooo!" " God bless you.” Sniff. Cough. These are all symptoms of cold and flu season.
As I walk through the grocery store, I notice that Nyquil and Advil are strategically placed in the end caps on many aisles. Turn on the TV and you’ll get a barrage of advertisements promoting vaccines for flu and pneumonia. Then there are the long-winded commercials regarding prescription medications and their possible side effects. As I consider finding a solution for something that ails me, I start to count the cost of the laundry list of side effects. Of those listed are the possibility of: diarrhea, constant sweating, leg pain and blurry vision. I think I’ll pass on the cure for my cough. Disinfectant wipes and hand washing can help prevent the spread of germs, but the truth is these viruses are sure to find you. They are the gift that keeps on giving. I saw a sign in a bathroom that read, “Wash your hands and say a prayer, because Jesus and germs are everywhere.” Truth is in these words.
As I ponder contagions, I am drawn to illnesses on the forefront but then I recall a little boy in line behind me at a retail store the other day. His baby sister was sound asleep in the stroller and mom was checking her list on her cell phone. As this young boy surveyed all the candy around him, which are cleverly placed by the sales associates to inflict pain on the parents, he asked, “What it this?” and “What is that?” Mom responded with a description and more patience than I could muster. Then he would announce, “I want that!” Of course you do little man, and I want a trip to Hawaii. We are both out of luck.
I found myself looking at him and sensing a smile coming across my face. As he glanced up at me, he smiled back. Maybe he was hopeful that I would spring into action to purchase the gummy bears he longed for. I told his mom how cute he was. She agreed with my observation. I was called to the cash register by the announcement of, “I can help the next customer on register number 3 !!” As I paid for my goods and collected my coupons, I smiled and said, “Thank you and Merry Christmas!” The employee smiled back and responded accordingly. There is something to this “smile” thing.
As I walked to my car carrying the 46 X 30 frame I purchased, the wind kicked up and almost sent the frame flying into the air. I found myself laughing, wondering if I was being filmed for "America’s Funniest Videos". I thought of the movie “Mary Poppins” and although I didn’t have an umbrella, this frame seemed to want to carry me into the air. The scene was comical even if I do say so myself. I saw a few patrons smile as they watched my dilemma. It’s good to see others smiling.
I want to be the one who causes a response of a smile instead of a furrowed brow. I want to be that kind of contagious. I don't want to be a poison, a contagion. I want to be the type of change in the world whose heart wants the best for others. The type who helps others want to pay it forward with kindness. Wouldn’t you rather have someone leave your presence feeling encouraged instead of discouraged? I want to be the person who inspires someone to pursue and chase their goals, instead of stomping on their dreams. I need help in that area. How about you? As you go about your daily routine, I pray that you will be the one that smiles at a child, a stranger or even at yourself. Be that kind of contagious gift that keeps on giving.