How can I keep myself from smiling

A smile on the street

The Bible - a book of encounters

The Bible is an encounter book from first to last page. From the stories of paradise to revelation we read of successful and failed encounters: man and fellow man, man and God, sick and healing, family members, seekers and Jesus, people and neighboring people. Obvious is the relationship between man and fellow man, but also the relationship between Man to God and vice versa a “relationship story”. The Bible tells of Jesus that he crossed the street. I asked: What are you missing? Took my time. Be at home with neighbors and strangers.

I experience that these one-and-one encounters are becoming increasingly rare, either individually in the gym or in bulk in the stadium. In inns, everyone wants their own table if possible. Even in church. Many say: “I like to go to church, but only when there is no service. Because then I'm alone. ”I'm exaggerating: Germans either want to immerse themselves in the crowd or be left alone. I'm exaggerating again: Germany in 30 years: A nursing home with 80 million single rooms, perfectly wired, each room with a separate entrance. I do not look there at all. But I want to tell you briefly what gives me hope that things will turn out differently

A smile from the person opposite

A smile from across the street got under my skin. I saw a young woman on the opposite side of the street laughing quietly to herself, I don't know anything about her. I don't know a name, no history. I no longer know what clothes or hair color, and yet this woman's forgotten, uncontrolled smile is still seared into the memory of a much older man she didn't even notice. She didn't notice my own smile either. It was a happy moment for me; she over there on the other side of the street thought she was unobserved; I admit it happens very rarely.

It's good to see people laugh or smile or even shine without someone having just made a joke. Perhaps something “seriously beautiful” is the reason for a quiet, self-forgetting smile? A memory? Insight? One hand?

The trigger is always an encounter.


Encounters for a glimpse

We have met millions of people. Hundreds, thousands of these encounters with oncoming passers-by, at train stations, at the traffic lights, the short, wordless encounters with passers-by, with those whose proximity you can feel on crosswalks and escalators. In a traffic jam on the highway. Everyone carries millions of scrapbooks with them, strange encounters, only the beginning. As if someone was collecting overtures or forewords from books or TV announcements or book covers. It remains with this eye-gaze.

I experience this a lot: I see or hear or experience the beginning of a story that I want to open up to. A person laughs quietly to himself. I want to change the side of the street, hug him, discover the treasure that makes him shine. But the escalator is merciless. The green of the traffic light is too short, and a person - half suppressed - loses a tear. I want to take him in my arms, but the bus leaves, the S-Bahn closes the doors.


You have met millions of people

You have met millions of people. On the bench. On holiday. In the train. In the plane. At the beach. While shopping. In the service. At the concert. In the pool. In the office. In the hospital. At the hut in the mountains. In the pub around the corner. In the stadium. At the demo. At the sausage stand. With the Greeks. At the Italian. During sports. In the doctor's waiting room. In the bus. There are millions. And some will be remembered. A few. Isn't that a shame? You can describe a maximum of 20 out of millions of encounters - with the exception of relatives and friends.

What do we give away if we don't cross the street? There are many lives that we give away like this. Unopened stories. I know the thought is crazy. And yet I would occasionally like to freeze the moment on the zebra crossing or while shopping. Would like to stop time on the street or do sports for a good quarter of an hour. And find out what makes one smile or smile, the second to a petrified face and the third to cry softly.

I am sure: we would do each other good.