The Wave of a Hand

Tonight I was headed back to the airport after a successful, and much needed day in the Bay. I came up to have a meeting with a new customer, spent some time with a few office colleagues and then met up with my daughter Imani at her work. Then the two of us went out for some wonderful sushi at Hanabi Sushi

As she was driving me back to the airport, we approached one of the walking bridges over the freeway. On it was one lone person, not walking, but standing, waving at the cars going by.  Imani and I both waved back, having no idea whether the person saw us or not, but it was something about their act of joy and exuberance that made us both smile and respond in kind. 

To be honest, I am somewhat struggling to write this, because I don’t want to be another of the sea of people having something to say about what happened at the Oscars. I’ve seen all of the commentary, the memes, the music mixes, and I’m ready to move on. One thing is clear though: what we do with our hands really does have an impact on society. 

Years ago, I wrote about a father who made his two sons leap out of their seat with joy because he handed them a cookie. Something so simple, but that act of taking what was in his hand and sliding it toward the kids not only affected them, it touched me enough for me to not only smile, but to write about it. 

The book of Ecclesiastes is a collection of wisdom writings attributed to King Solomon. In chapter 9 verse 10 he writes,

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.

I find that too often, many of the things that I need to do get pushed off or postponed, not because I don’t know how to do them, but simply because “I don’t do them”. Sounds simple, right? But do an analysis… how many times have you looked back and said, “if I had just done that then…”

The question though, is “Why?” Why do I postpone the thing I know in my core is the right thing to do? I think Dr. Martin Luther King may have some perspective on this. 


“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Maybe the person on the bridge understood the concept that Dr. King was talking about. The smallest act of caring can really be a powerful catalyst to turn a life around.

So, they stood on a bridge and waved to strangers…

To me…

And it turned a portion of my life around, made me smile, and respond in kind. 

Tonight Holly and I had dinner at a wonderful creole restaurant named Sharon’s Creole Kitchen in Murrieta California. Sharon told us that she believes food is her ministry, and it is the way that she can touch people that she might not have the chance to otherwise. She and Z are using what is in their hands, and let me tell you… they are doing it well!

I don’t know what possessed that person to stop on the walking bridge and wave to strangers. The person didn’t have 5 people with cameras capturing the event to post it to TikTok or Instagram,  so outside of me writing this, no one would have any clue that it happened. But maybe that is what made it special. The person didn’t do it for fame… maybe they did it just to make someone like me smile. 

4 Replies to “The Wave of a Hand”

  1. Hello Pastor;
    When I was in New Zealand I sat in this court yard waiting for the Lords next instruction. While waiting this well dressed Black gentleman in a suit was walking a bit far off. I just smiled and waved good morning. He stops, waits a minute, then came walking over to me with this huge smile. I wasn’t sure what to think at this point. He sat down next to me looks around and says ‘ that’s a gift you know.’ I responded ‘what is’? He said ‘your greeting and smile, it’s a gift Thank you’.
    He sat next to me on the bench, inhaled while looking all around. As he stood up he looked at me, smiled, said have a good day and went about his day.
    Leaving me a gift as well.

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