Let me begin tonight by offering a very deep and appreciative thank you to all who shared in comenting on us making it 48 years together. I am so thankful Shirley allowed me to live.
Yes, we are at the beach (Myrtle) and, as always, you run into all sorts of people. Last year while here, Shirley purchased a safety chain and one small charm for a Donatella bracelet she received as a gift from Stephen, Joy and the kids years ago. It is like the Pandora Bracelets but a little different.
Last year these items were purchased here in Myrtle from Reed’s Jewelry. Well, the safety clasp would not fit – it was too small, and so was the charm. Shirley waited to come back down here to make exchanges or get things fixed.
With receipt in hand we make the long journey down to the mall south of Myrtle beach. It is a thriving mall. The people at Reeds would barely give her the time of day. “We can’t fix it, your time limit is up – notice on your receipt it says ten days. However, we can sell you a $180.00 Pandora bracelet.”
I wasn’t in there or else I may have revealed my retired status. Shirley was nice, disappointed, but kind.
The next day we were in another mall – North Myrtle – a mall that is not doing quite as well. We passed another Reed’s store. Shirley reached in the pocket-purse (that is what Abby calls it) and pulls out the little plastic packet with all her bracelet stuff in it and heads for the store. This man is nice and accommodating. He wasn’t able to refund her money or fix it, but he made a trade for something else. Guess what that nice man did? He won back a person who would have never walked in another Reed’s store again. I should have gone in the store and thanked him.
We all have the opportunity to say the right words, take the high road, and do the right thing. It is harder to do… but in the long run you make yourself and those around you winners.
The other day, as we were going out to dinner, I looked at the name plate of the owner of the condo across the hall from us. Now these are condos in the $450,000 and up category. As I was looking two people walked up. I said, “I was just looking at the name of the owners of this condo.” Their reply was “We are the owners.” So, with nothing else to say, I said: “You must be Charles and Sarah Brown?” Quickly they said “Yes, we are.” and moved into their condo and loudly turned the dead bold. It was so noticeably loud we were sure that they thought us to be the strange people across the hall who were plotting a way to break into their home.
Today Shirley stopped and talked with Sarah in the hallway about a place to get a good haircut. In their conversation she learned that Charles was a former Marine who served in Vietnam in the 1st Marine Division in Da Nang. He took a pin off his jacket, gave it to Shirley and told her to tell me: “Semper Fi!”
Why is it that so many times we accept the first impression we have of people and things. What a loss if we had never walked into that second Reeds Jewelry Store or stopped to talk with Sarah and Charles? We would have been the losers had we not taken that second step.
Next time we have a bad encounter, perhaps we need to be reminded that we can make a second effort that just may change everything into a whole new adventure where friendships are made and conflict ended.
Dear Lord, thank you for inviting us always to go that extra mile, to speak that word of kindness, to hold our tongue when our thoughts are unfavorable, and to speak words of grace and love, kindness and forgiveness, in and through Jesus. Amen.
Grace and Peace