By James Synder
It was one of those weeks. It seems that every week of mine is “one of those weeks.” Just when I think everything was looking fine, I discovered I was looking in the wrong direction. I should know better than thinking.
Several problems developed with my vehicle, and I had to take it to the garage. Fortunately, when I took it in, it wasn’t as serious as I thought it would be. Of course, I was happy about that, and as I drove my vehicle home, I sang one of my happy songs.
The next day, the vehicle had the issue again. I guess he heard me sing that happy song and was going to try to prove me wrong. I should’ve worn a mask while singing so he wouldn’t understand what I was singing. When am I going to learn?
Oh well, it’s one of those weeks.
I took the vehicle back to the garage, and they solved the problem very quickly, which made me happy. Remembering the last time I brought the vehicle home, I did not sing my happy song, at least out loud.
When everything goes wrong, it is tough to be nice. Having a nice attitude takes a lot of work, and I must say it is beyond my pay grade.
It’s not that I don’t try to be nice, because I do. I guess one person’s nice is another person’s naughty. Why is it naughty seems much better than nice?
The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage always reminds me when I’m going somewhere, “You better be nice today!”
I remembered years ago, I asked her to define for me what nice really means. I won’t do that again because she told me her view of being nice. I suppose I should have taken notes, but I didn’t.
After everything that went wrong this week, I was very much tempted just to give up. I’m not sure what I would give up, but I was tempted to go in that direction.
Then things changed.
First off, I got a check from my publisher, which I was not expecting. As I drove to the bank to deposit the check, I kept from singing my happy song just in case my vehicle was listening. But I was happy.
When I got back from the bank, my wife saw that I was smiling and asked what I was happy about. So, being the “nice” person that I am, I told her. And she was happy for me.
It was just the beginning of the “nice” attitude in my week.
My wife was away for lunch the other day, and so I had to get my lunch. I stopped at Wendy’s and got my lunch, and I have one of those coupons for a free Frosty. I used my coupon, and when I picked up my food, there were two Frostys.
“Excuse me,” I said to the waiter, “I only ordered one frosty, but you gave me two.”
The person at the window looked at me, smiled, and said, “I just wanted to do something nice for you. Go ahead, keep it.” I smiled back at him and thanked him.
When you get something free, and you’re not expecting it, it really is nice.
Driving home, I was thinking to myself, “How can my week get any better?”
It started out bad, but was beginning to change course.
As I was thinking about how nice the week was going, I decided to celebrate it by getting an Apple Fritter. What better way to celebrate a nice week? After all, an Apple Fritter eaten without my wife’s knowledge is a pretty nice deal.
Driving over to where I get my Apple Fritters, I had a thought in my mind. What if I could get a discount on my Apple Fritter?
The gray cells upstairs started bouncing around, and I came up with a plan.
I went in, got my Apple Fritter, and took it to the cashier. When I got there, I looked at the cashier and said, “If I mention how nice you look today, could you give me a discount on my Apple Fritter?”
For all practical purposes, I never expected a discount. I just thought I would make the cashier feel a little happy with a customer like me.
I could see quite a bit of strain in the lady at the cash register, and I’m sure she’s had one of those days like I have every once in a while.
She looked at me, smiled (probably the first time that day), and said, “That’s the nicest thing anybody has said to me all day. Sure I can give you a discount. In fact, this Apple Fritter is on the house. Go ahead and take it.” Then she smiled as I walked out the door.
Driving home, I thought about it and that being nice sometimes has nice results. Nothing could be nicer for me than a free Apple Fritter.
I thought about the words of Jesus, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38).
After this little incident, I will take more time practicing to be nice to the people I meet each day.
The Reverend James L. Snyder is an award winning author whose writings have appeared in more than eighty periodicals including GUIDEPOSTS. In Pursuit of God: The Life of A. W. Tozer, Snyder’s first book, won the Reader’s Choice Award in 1992 by Christianity Today. Snyder has authored 15 books altogether. Through more than thirty-five years of ministry, he and his wife Martha have been involved in three church-planting projects prior to their current ministry at the Family of God Fellowship in Ocala, Florida. The Snyders have three children and seven grandchildren.