Tuesday, as I walked into the hospital where I'm a volunteer, I held open the door for the person behind me.
I heard a voice say chuckling, "Now my mother taught me I was supposed to open the door for you!"
Turning around I saw a tall, stocky older gentleman dressed in faded overalls and a blue T-shirt hold a single rose wrapped in florist paper.
Laughing, I replied, "Looking over my shoulder when I go through a door is a practice I started several years ago. You can open the next door, " I suggested, pausing in the entryway between the two doors leading to the hospital.
Many years ago I wanted to find ways to honor or affirm people I know as well as strangers. The simple act of holding the door for the person behind me to walk through is a way to honor Christ who lives in all and affirm a stranger who happened to cross my path. Not knowing what others are dealing with, I like to offer at least one act of kindness a person can remember from the day.
These lines from St. Patrick remind me to bring holiness to a common act:
"Christ be with me, Christ within me
Christ behind me, Christ before me."
Christ lives within me, so when I honor those who are behind and before me, I honor Christ.
Electronic doors open automatically needing no human assistance, but manual doors are everywhere, offering a chance to spread God's love to those who are behind. I step in front, and hold the door and in that moment, for the person who passes through, perhaps my presence represents Christ before them, and when I let the door close and follow them, perhaps I'm Christ behind them.
Prayer: Loving and caring God, keep our hearts open to serve others even in simple acts of opening a door, for all we do is in your name. Amen.