I can’t say that I’ve ever been one to leave other people alone. I thrive on human interaction and the sense of enjoyment I derive in sharing some of my favorite pastimes with others. In other words, I get bored easily, and when I do, I will annoy the crap out of you until you do something with me.
It just so happens that since Bill & I live together, when we’re home at the same time (which is actually quite rare), I bug the living daylights out of him to do something – like go outside in the park across the street and toss a football for 20 minutes. Thankfully, Bill is usually a good sport as long as it doesn’t involve being social in a large group. Tossing a football is the perfect guy activity and feeds our need to release the testosterone-induced competitive drives that build up over a long week of boring work.
This past Saturday, I suggested to Bill that we toss the pigskin for a while because the weather was perfect. I went outside while Bill changed out of his pajamas, and happened to see my neighbor, a sweet little old lady shaking out a rug. We exchanged pleasantries and she asked me how I was doing. I replied “Fantastic!” with gusto, to which she responded “Oh…Thank you!”.
I asked what she was thanking me for, and she said “For telling me that I look fantastic!”. Being the control freak that I am, it took every ounce of my being to not correct her for the misinterpretation of my response, but I decided that it was better to let her think that I was complimenting her looks.
Bill came out soon after and threw the ball at me, thus ending my small-talk conversation with my neighbor. For some reason I found myself quite happy for inadvertently making my neighbor’s day. While my intention wasn’t to compliment her on how nice she looked (It’s a good thing she didn’t think I added “for someone your age” on the end of that…), I realized that people are generally pleased when someone else takes a genuine interest in their well-being.
There’s really no point to my story other than to help you share in my awkward exchange. But if I were to dig up a point, I would surmise that our relationships with others would improve if we didn’t focus on ourselves and our own interests so often. This genuine concern in the lives of others can help all of us become closer imitations of Christ and the saints.