While I was waiting for my doctor’s appointment recently, two women, one older, one younger, came in to the waiting room. Nothing was terribly notable about this except that the older woman was wearing a hijab and a long black tunic dress. I looked up from the magazine I was reading to notice them.
They both sat down. The older woman looked a little uncomfortable. The younger woman took a call on her cell phone, leaving the woman looking somewhat lost. I said, “Good morning,” to the older woman. When I got no response, I waved at her. She waved back.
I realized that she probably, possibly, did not speak English and so felt out of place. By waving, I hope I had broken the “silence” a bit and helped her feel less left out. I remember my time in South Korea. I did not speak the language but just having someone nod in my direction made me feel less alone. They did not have to say anything.
It is amazing how easy it is to bridge gaps like this, if we choose to. A simple nod or wave can speak volumes. This is a big world made smaller by technology, but still there are spaces between people that are wide and sometimes widening. I like to think that a little step like a nod or wave can go a long way towards closing the gaps between people. It’s worth a try.