There is an episode from the old "Andy Griffith Show" in which Barney Fife takes his girl, Thelma Lou, out on a date. However, for the date, he didn't actually take her "out" anywhere. Instead, he picked her up and took her down by the lake for some "smooching" time. As they were sitting in the car, Thelma Lou made some comment about wishing they had gone to a movie or done something different, to which Barney replied, "Well Thelma Lou, don't you know that the best things in life are free?". Apparently this "free" date didn't qualify as one of the "best" things in life for Thelma Lou.
You've heard that phrase yourself, right?
Look at the graphic above and you'll see it again. And, you'll also see little images to demonstrate what types of things fit into this "free" category. But, are they really "free"?
Don't get me wrong...I understand the thought behind the phrase and I agree that, too many times we feel that MONEY has to be involved in order to bring happiness. That is usually NOT the case.
But, again, I want to focus on asking the question about these particular things: "Are they REALLY free?"
As we go through this series this week, understand that there is no such thing as a free lunch! In other words, NOTHING is actually FREE, friend. And, yes, that includes hugs, smiles and friends.
All of the things that you see on the first graphic (and that we will be discussing this week) require an INVESTMENT from you in one way or another. That's right - it ain't free, buddy!
Think about it...do you really want a complete stranger coming up to you and giving you a hug out on the street? You might, but NOT ME! There has to be some sort of "connection" or relationship in order for me to give or receive a hug. Sure, it may be a joyous celebration at a sporting event that might cause such a thing to happen but, even at that, the excitement over that sporting event would be the "connecting" value.
You must INVEST YOURSELF in some sort of way in order for a hug to MEAN something and for it to be welcomed (on either side) for encouragement, solace or appreciation. Otherwise, they are just plain AWKWARD. You've experienced some of those, haven't you?
SMILES are a little different but, friend, they still require an investment from you. Sharing a smile is one of the easiest things that a person can do but, have you looked at the faces around you lately? There doesn't seem to be too many of them with a smile on their face!
You have to make an investment - a commitment - that you are going to share your positive attitude REGARDLESS of how many people ignore it because you just never know when you will come across someone that really NEEDS that smile on that day. Believe me (and I think you already know this), it DOES make a difference! Add to that smile a friendly (and genuine) greeting - especially at your workplace - and see what happens. I love doing that with the ladies in the office at my work. I love to smile and greet them with a genuine, "Good morning, ladies! How are you doing today?" and then watch their faces light up with smiles of their own as they respond in a very similar way.
And finally, FRIENDS. It doesn't take a genius to realize that having friends DEFINITELY takes an investment from all involved. Am I right?
Too many people whine and complain about not having any friends when they are not willing to invest in such a relationship. They want friends but don't care enough about others to reach outside of their own little world to allow others in. Or, many times, they just are too selfish to reach out and care about others.
YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS.
Sure, some friends are closer than others. That's normal. That's expected. Those are likely the ones with which you have far more invested. Cherish those relationships!
So, you see, in reality, these things might be considered "free" but they ALL require an investment from YOU. But hey, that's what life is all about...each of us sharing our lives with those around us.
Aren't you glad?
Invest and fill your life with those hugs, smiles and friends and, until next time, whatever you do, be sure to...
"Make it an AWESOME day! (Who else is going to do it for you?)"