... in a greeting

Published on 13 Jun 2019
A sign which says 'Hello'

As I walk to work in the morning I have walked past a man sweeping the steps of a hotel a couple of times, and both times he has said to me in a cheery voice 'Buongiorno!' 

I don't know if he is Italian, or thinks I am, but I always reply with 'Buongiorno!' back, one of the few Italian words or phrases I happen to know. It always makes me smile.

It's rare these days for strangers to greet each other, at least in London. I live in a large village now and, once in a while, someone (usually an older person) will say hello as they pass. But it is all too rare. The protocol of country walks however is slightly different. If you're walking on a country path, people fairly often greet each other, usually with 'Good Morning!' or 'Good Afternoon!'. I was on a walk at the weekend and found that some people greeted me, but a few didn't. 

I read an article today that said these small interactions with strangers are good for us, even though we might think talking to strangers is embarrassing or awkward. There are psychological reasons for this of course, but I know I feel a spiritual lift as well, 'for Christ plays in ten thousand places' and when a person greets another, they are acknowledging the presence of Christ in others.