This week's chapter in bible study focused on Courtesy. Not courtesy as just meaning good manners, but courtesy in treating others as personal friends; to be "friendly-minded." To me, courtesy is really a key cornerstone in developing relationships and furthering (deepening) relationships. It is not enough to make friends - we must be friends in our thoughts, words and actions.
When I think about being courteous myself, I realize that I am sometimes more courteous to strangers than to those I'm closest to. I guess we are all guilty of this at some point - my sweet husband will comfort me when I am sobbing about something that is really not that big of a deal at all - I think a server at a restaurant might not want to comfort me with a big hug as I'm sobbing. :) I must say that being a courteous person really makes a tremendous difference - to both the giver and the receiver. Let me explain.
Chip and I were celebrating a friend's birthday last Monday at a local grill. The place was very empty and we were there for a few hours watching the Steelers game. Our waitress only had three tables the entire night. When the bill came, we tipped her a little more than average. Then God told me what to do. This sweet waitress was sitting a few tables over from us counting her tips for the night and filling out paperwork. She had a book she was reading on the table beside her. She had this look that well - it touched my heart. She had served us all night and done an excellent job. She had (as Chapman puts it in one of his stories) a considerate spirit. I asked Chip if he had any extra cash on him. He gave me what he had - a five dollar bill. I walked over to our waitress and laid the money down on top of her book. I told her how much we appreciated her service and that she just seemed like a really nice person. My heart felt full when I walked away and sat back down. The waitress then came by our table as she was leaving. She told us thank you and said that was the nicest thing that had happened to her all month. I wanted to cry - I wished I had more money to give her. However, that is not what I think it was about. She had given more to us that night than we had given her. Her gratitude showed me that being courteous to someone for no more reason than to just be courteous gives so much to us. I felt honored to be in her section that night - to share what God has blessed us with. I think that is what courtesy is all about.
My hope and prayer now is to be that courteous all of the time. I want to be able to give others the same feeling I get when people are courteous to me. My prayer is to become the person who is able to show how much others mean to me in ways that make them feel appreciated. My friend, Kathy, is one of the most courteous people I know. When she gives you a present, you know that she has put thought into it. Last year she gave me a plaque that she had made with my favorite saying of my Grandma's - "True Love is kissing in the kitchen." Not only did Kathy remember the saying, she also had the plaque made in my two favorite colors - pink and brown. The best part of all about Kathy's courteous nature is that it is part of who she is. It is a part of her character and her love. I feel so honored to be her friend and I hope that she knows how much I love and cherish her friendship.
I must share about another person who is so courteous and thoughtful. It is actually more than one person - it is a group. My LifeGroup is incredible. This group of ladies - it is almost impossible to describe what we have. It is a group where we can share our concerns, our prayers, our joys, our lives and know that those in the group are there to support you in every way possible. Not only is our group supportive and caring - you know that they are praying for you every step of the way. The Lord has placed each of us in this group for a very specific reason. To understand LifeGroup, you have to experience it. It is a room full of women who laugh, cry, pray, and are just there for each other. I believe that LG embodies not only what it is to live a life of courtesy, they embody what it is to live a life of love.