From across the long hallway she looked like a beacon of light marking a safe harbor. Although I didn’t know her well, I knew her as a kind person, and I decided to head her way. As I drew near, she looked up with spark of light in her eyes that said she was glad to see me; kindness and compassion were unmistakably behind the light. My coworker was sitting on the stairway reviewing her notes before an early morning presentation. We greeted each other warmly.

I felt like I could have laid my head on her shoulder and told her how I was really feeling. My weekend had been challenging. I was hit hard with two family emergencies in the span of the same weekend. One was a death. It was Monday morning and my coworker could have had no idea how tough my weekend had been or how desperately I needed a friendly face. It’s like that in the workplace; we often have no idea what the next person is going through outside of work.

I was feeling the double whammy more than she could have known. I didn’t rest my head on her shoulder that morning on the steps, but I appreciate that I could have. She only had a short time before her presentation, and it wouldn’t have been appropriate for me to share with her at that moment. However, I did catch up with her later and let her know I was hurting and how much I appreciated her welcoming smile.

The workplace isn’t always compassion-friendly or inviting on a personal level. Even when we have people who care, the environment isn’t necessarily conducive for personal relationships. We rush through our busy days without remembering to ask one another how we are really doing. Oh, sure, on a Monday morning, the greeting for the new workweek might include an inquiry as to how we are, but there’s a certain expectation for us to reply with the cursory, “Fine.”

Jesus showed kindness and compassion wherever He went. We should model His behavior. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them and healed their sick (Matthew 14:14).

A little kindness and compassion can make a big difference. Something as simple as a welcoming smile could make another person’s day. A coworker might be hurting, and you may not know it. Exemplifying compassion in the workplace is showing God’s love and has healing power. You could be a beacon of light in your workplace today, and it just may start with a simple smile.

Shari Harris

Author Shari Harris

Shari is a Marketplace Chaplain. Her passion in being a follower of Jesus in the workplace and encouraging others is shared through writing, speaking, and sharing personal stories in her book, Walking in Faith: Stories of Hope and Encouragement for the Workplace (Westbow Press). She lives in Blaine and enjoys riding motorcycles with her husband and sharing life with their son. www.sharijharris.com

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