“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1John 4:10-11
The West coast is awesome for running! Whether it’s Washington, Oregon or California, my favorite solo runs have all been out West. When it comes to urban running, San Francisco is great and I always love to run across the Golden Gate Bridge. However, over the last several years I find myself being particularly friendly as I cross that bridge after I heard a story a couple of years ago.
I was working in mental health and had an opportunity to listen to a powerful speaker talk about an awful subject during a meeting: suicide. Part of his presentation discussed a documentary called “The Bridge”. It turns out that the Golden Gate Bridge is a common destination for individuals from all over the world to go to take their lives. The movie taped numerous incidents, as well as interviews with friends and families of those who jumped to bring awareness about this tragic issue.
The speaker shared several stories but there was one that had a lasting impression on me. It was about one jumper who had left a note in his apartment that was found afterwards. The note said something to the effect that “if one person smiles at me, I will not jump”. Obviously we will never know what happened that day as he walked across the bridge but I am fairly certain it is not too hard for any of us to believe that someone could go a day without a smile or kind word.
Recently a friend of mine had a customer who shocked him at the end of his day. He had asked the man “How was your day?” as he normally did to this gentleman and many others. On this particular night, the man who appeared to have a happy family, solemnly confided that my friend was the only person who ever asked him that question and thanked him. He was left speechless and surprised by this man’s confession.
We all are so busy at work, at home, and in every aspect of our lives. We live in a society where too many of us, including myself at times, walk around looking at and/or listening to some type of electronic device. We have begun to lose our social and spiritual connection with one another. As Christians we have an additional obligation to reach out and share God’s love with our brothers and sisters. It may be a simple wave or a loud “good morning” as we pound the pavement or tackle the trails. However we must make an effort to engage with our environment and with one another as we run and live each day that we have been blessed with.
Ever since I heard that story from the Golden Gate Bridge I often wonder if my “good morning” to a stranger on the street as I run is the only kind word that person might hear that day? If so, I want to do my best to make sure it carries them to tomorrow.
We are all blessed in many ways that we may not fully acknowledge or appreciate. If you are able to read this, if you are able to get out and run, you already have much to be thankful for. Share that grace and love that the Lord had so freely and unconditionally given to you to others who might need it more that you can possibly imagine. Jesus gave his live for us and while a smile may seem like a small gift, the presence of the Holy Spirit within you can truly save a live!