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The Heart Behind The Mask

The door to the RaceTrac convenience store in Fayetteville, Georgia had not yet closed behind me when I was greeted by a warm, friendly "Good morning!" from a clerk behind the counter. I waved and responded in like fashion, perhaps not as cheerfully, and proceeded to grab my morning vice - a soft drink, either a Coca Cola or a Mountain Dew.

We customers kept the appropriate, respectable distance as indicated by the stickers on the floor. As each stepped to the counter, they were again welcomed by that same voice, and I found myself looking forward to my turn. Who doesn't like to be treated like they are special, especially early in the morning?

"Good morning," she said as I slid my drink across the counter.

"Morning," I responded.

Waving the can in front of her magic scanner thing, she asked, "Did you find everything you needed?"

I assured her I did, and she asked how I was doing. I told her all was well, asked how things were with her, and learned that she, too, was doing fine.

She took my cash, gave me change, and thanked me for shopping at her store. I turned to leave, and then I paused as no one was in line behind me.

"Thanks for being so friendly," I said. "Especially this early in the morning."

Half her face was covered with the mandatory mask, but her eyes hovered just above its rim. Dark, lustrous brown, they sparkled and twinkled as she responded, "You're welcome, and have a good day."

"You, too," I said. "And keep smiling behind that mask."

"That's what I'm doing! All day long."

No mask can conceal a person's attitude, not when they're smiling as warmly and sincerely as was she behind that little strip of cloth. Others may not see my whole face these days, but my heart is always on display. Always.

I walked away, thinking to myself that Jesus would probably refer to her and say, as He often did in the Gospels, "Go, and do likewise."

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