There's a lady working the checkout at Target who I call the Have a Blessed Day Lady. She must work about 100 hours a week, because I get her almost every time I come into Target. And as soon as I catch a glance at her--before she's even said a word--I think "have a blessed day," because that's what she says each time she cashes you out.
Today I got in line and Have a Blessed Day Lady came over to tell me her line was open. I moved over, and she told me not to get the big stuff out, zapping the dog food and cat food bags and the big comforter and mirror I picked out for DD's room. (Have a Blessed Day Lady is crazy awesome with the customer service, unlike the average checkout person.) After a few minutes, the checkout girl from next to her started bagging my items. The other checkout girl was -- how to say it kindly -- the kind of girl who looks a little older than her years, if you know what I mean. It was obvious Have a Blessed Day Lady was trying to help her with a personal problem and responded with "It's the Jesus in me," and a couple of other words of Christian style encouragement: "It may not be easy but he's there for you," et cetera.
It was an interesting exchange, because Worse for the Wear Lady came over and started bagging my items for me. It was unusual. Who bags for you at Target? It was obvious that Have a Blessed Day Lady's helpfulness was having a major effect on the work Worse for the Wear Lady was doing. And for the better.
I was walking out to my car after the exchange in a rare state of self-examination, wondering if someone who has a 3 minute association with me can tell from my demeanor that I'm a Christian or at least a very religious person. Would Worse for the Wear girl be affected positively by my example?
I have to say, I pretty much do not invest any of my good karma in strangers. Just don't care. And that is definitely a wrong attitude. Have a Blessed Day Lady makes me smile and think about important things after the most minimal of contact with her. How can I have that affect on others? Have a Blessed Day Lady manages to be overtly Christian without coming of like a nutcase. I hope this doesn't sound like a stereotype, but in my experience, black women seem to express their religious natures more comfortably and naturally than others. How can I develop this kind of influence? And do I really want to?
Mormons don't seem to want to wear their religions on their sleeves. I admit I am often secretly pleased when people are astonished to find out I'm Mormon. I want to shout: "SEE!!!! Mormons are not FREAKS!" I guess it's just a natural reaction to always being peculiar. You just want to be like everyone else.
I noticed black girls and their effusive religious expression when I was in high school. I decided I could begin expressing some of that in my conversation, and worked on ways to say, yes, the Lord has really blessed me, or I've been praying for that, or whatever. As long as the comments were "natural" extensions of the conversation, I was never rebuked for those kinds of comments. People (nearly everyone in Mississippi is some flavor of Christian) always reacted positively. At first the expressions were anything but natural. But soon I found myself actually feeling happier and more grateful, too.
Perhaps this is something I could work on doing again: expressing my faith during conversation without being harpy. These types of expression seemed pretentious when I heard them in Utah, but like Mississippi, here they seem refreshing. I can make sure others know I am a person of faith without being pushy.