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Adi Matis – Smiles Romania Assistant Director   September 2015

The Small Things that go a Long Way

It is a known fact that quite often in life, the little things are those which make the biggest difference, be it for the good or bad. We are amazed at times how a small thing like a smile can create a more cordial atmosphere or a little joke can de-tensify a dangerous situation. At the right time, in the right manner, the little things can be extraordinary factors that can change the whole picture. No doubt, one should exercise the ability of being able to use these, but I believe everyone can do something about it to great results for the relationships God put us in and with the people around us.

The other day I had to deal with some paper work with one of the many offices we need to visit in the city, even for the smallest of issues. It’s almost like you cannot sneeze without needing an approval from some institution, but that’s another issue, for another time – nothing really unexpected anymore!

Anyway, getting in the office, here I am with my papers in front of a lady that is very busy completing some forms, missing my "buna ziua!" so not answering to it, waiting for her attention. Eventually, she rose her nose from the notebook and ask me what do I want. I told her I come from Smiles, to submit the papers. She’s looking at me with a very sour face, takes my papers, looks at them and immediately dismisses them because they are not fully completed. "I cannot take it in, come back another day. Didn’t you notice there is this full section here that you did not complete? Do you think I have time to waste instructing everybody how to complete a form? Come back once all is done and I will take them in!"

Being slightly discouraged, as I only did this for other colleagues so I wasn’t really aware of these details, I said: "Well, I understand. You’re right, now I see we did not complete all the lines, we must have been in a rush. You see, there are so many things we need to get done and just as with you, there is a lot of pressure on us. I don’t want to waste your time, so thank you for pointing out the problem. Could you be so kind to lend me a pen? In two minutes I will complete it and will be all good. I would really hate to disappoint my colleagues and be forced to tell them they will have to come here again and delay all the other procedure…"

There must have been something in this she was not used to… She was expecting probably a round of comments and protests, as she was probably facing such many times before, hence her aggressive approach to start with. My attitude probably was so unusual that she took off her "clerk" glasses (you know the type, those that you look over the top of) and she said, almost with apologies in her voice: "Well, I guess that’s possible. Here is the pen. You can use that table, complete it and we’re done. You don’t have to come another day."

I realised immediately what a big difference an understanding, or at least a less rigid attitude can make. Later on, when it came back in my mind, I thought who knows when was the last time that someone had that type of communication with the lady… Maybe the only thing she hears all day long is how bad they are and how much the system is rubbish (which is a fact!) and probably no one ever shows any sympathy for her. And how all this can be so different, even shocking for them, when someone gets in there office and has a civilized discussion, admitting the snags and being ready to do what it takes to put things in order.

There is much to say about this. But all in all, I think it is extremely important that we do not conform to the model of this world. Not that it is an easy thing to do, especially when you’re really trying to do right and yet it seems everything is against you, in all forms… Maybe there is more to it when we are saying a smile can enlighten someone’s day. Maybe it really is so! I think people around us are so caught in a particular way of responding, acting and reacting that it is only really ourselves who can break that circle. I think what Jesus meant when saying to ‘turn the other cheek’ was that a bad word or attitude does not have to create the same response, but rather a calming and accommodating reaction might do better.

It’s been my experience in several situations of conflict that it only needed a bad look to ignite the fire. In such a tense context, even the smallest thing can turn into a complicated problem. And then, a calm word, or a smile, or a pat on the shoulder could actually prevent all of these and I noticed, quite often, people need that pretext to calm down. Doesn’t work always, but it does work most times.

I guess I am just trying to encourage you all, as I do myself, to try to be a good example to the world, salt and light, people that listen and obey Jesus’ commands. To remind you what that is, please read John 15:12. He tells us to love each other as He loved us. And whilst we’re not asked today for our friends, still we are asked to give our lives for them. That does not mean to die for them, but in fact it means to live for them. To love them, to help, to understand and to protect, to invest patience, acceptance and to hope for the best. All in Jesus and through Jesus and for His glory.

This is our specific Calling to the work of Smiles in Romania and the people we try to help.

Thank you for your support and for the amazing love you show for these people we work with. We all need you on our side and it is really only together with you that we can do something for those in need. May God bless you in many ways and keep in touch!

Adi Matis

Assistant Director Smiles Romania


Previous reports from Adi:

August 2015 - Mission Trips with significance

July 2015 - A great way into knowing God

June 2015 - History with a man that is no more

May 2015 - A Story Worth Sharing

March 2015 - Here in Romania, but not only...

February 2015 - New year, new hope and new plans

January 2015 - Management Team Reports

December 2014 - Preparing for the Celebration

November 2014 - A man's true story... an inspiration to us all

October 2014 - Golden September

September 2014 - A Summer of Experiences

August 2014 - Salard Community Reloaded

July 2014 - Sessions for the Mind

June 2014 - Unknown

May 2014 - Celebrate with us

April 2014 - Beliefs

March 2014 - From being taken care of to taking care...

February 2014 - My dream... to become a pig caretaker

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    Page last updated on 01/09/2015 02:12:24 PM
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