I’m grateful for my upbringing and parents who taught me to be courteous to others. Understanding I am no poster child for chivalry, I try to remember gestures of societal and communal kindness as much as I can. With a greater prominence of individualism in our world, I feel myself getting impatient in these attempts at courtesy, like holding the door open for others.
Have you ever held the door open for the person behind you only to get stuck holding it for the next fifty people? You ask yourself, “What did I get myself into?” Having this experience I often just carefully let the door go behind me so the next person has to hold it themselves as they exit. I mean, who has time to hold the door for other people???
The other day I was leaving a room and ran into someone I knew as they were entering. I held the door open as they stood in the doorway and we engaged in a conversation. Not long after a third person walked up and we all start talking. Then as the conversation shifted to a subject that only pertained the the other two people I began planning my escape. How can I leave when I am holding the door and these two people are standing in the doorway!?
So I waited, resigned my strategic getaway and engaged. In the scheme of the day, it was a few minutes. A few minutes of interaction with people, a few minutes to connect and build relationship for a longer lifetime. I suppose I could have said that I needed to get going and ended the conversation. What difference would it make? Turns out, those few minutes turned into a conversation that I know will be significant in the future.
The things we do for others, as inconvenient as it might seem, have to come out of a sacrificial heart. When we do for others and truly have others in mind, we can give and do freely and joyfully. You never know how significant that might be.
hen we hold the door open we might be encouraging other people to pass along those acts of kindness. We never know how our sacrificial acts of compassion and thoughtfulness will develop into a greater benefit of our community as it ripples through relationships. When we give without expected reciprocation, what we receive unexpectedly might just be something that impacts our lives for years to come.
You can afford to give a couple minutes, don’t forget to hold the door open for others.