Changing the world with our greetings

This post is dedicated to Ross Armstrong who returned to a place called love on Saturday.

He will be remembered by many as the person who greeted them at Trinity United Church.

I went to see Johnny Reid in concert in Ottawa on Saturday night. I wrote about Johnny in two earlier posts, Today I’m gonna try and change the world,  and A place called love  Since I’m not a diehard country music fan, that’s remarkable. But there’s something about Johnny Reid . . .

On Saturday, mid-concert, he slowed things down. Talking to the audience he said when he dies he wants to leave behind “the best of” himself. For him, the best is the song “Today I’m Gonna Try and Change the World.” According to Reid’s song, changing the world can be as simple as greeting a neighbour with a smile, or shaking the hand of a stranger.

A neighbourly greeting, a smile, or a handshake with a stranger can change the world.

When we greet people with a friendly smile, our core message to them is, “You are valuable.” When we shake the hands of a stranger, our core message is, “I’m curious about you. Tell me, so I can understand.”

When we are on the receiving end of those greetings and handshakes, it affects us. For that moment, we know we are valuable. For that moment, we know we are interesting and worth knowing. When we feel valuable, it’s easier for us, in turn, to greet people with a smile. When we feel interesting and worth knowing, it’s easier for us, in turn, to shake hands with a stranger. It’s easier for us, in turn, to affect others.

And so on, and so on, and so on . . .

When someone shows us our value, we remember them forever.

Thank you, Ross. You were one of my favourite people, and I will never forget that you showed me my value.

4 thoughts on “Changing the world with our greetings

  1. Glen

    Ross was a wonderful model of Christ’s love, encouragement, and enthusiasm who has made a positive difference in so many lives, including my own. I give thanks to God for Ross’s faithfulness and to your reflection here.

  2. Jodie

    Beautifully written Arlene, thank you.

    And thanks to Ross for welcoming me and my family to Trinity. Though many people greet us and may chat with our 4 and 8 year old girls each week, I’d be hard pressed to describe the others so the girls would be able to associate a name to the face.

    With Ross it was easy – they understood right away who we meant when we told them the sad news of his passing. So he obviously showed them their value too, by showing an interest and taking the time to greet them each week. For that I’m deeply grateful.

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      He had a way of really connecting with all people. It’s been interesting to hear from the parents of children over the past few days. My own kids, although older now, were really sad. Parents of younger kids have also told me how affected their children were when told the news. He had a unique gift.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.