Buzzing along a few weeks ago in my car, I passed a friend’s house with my cruise control set at 58 mph. Yes, minding the law and following the rules…
He was walking up his gravel driveway, his back to the road, mail in his hand. I tooted my horn. Immediately, he raised his arm and extended his hand in an automatic gesture, returning my honked greeting.
A spontaneous hello.
I don’t think he even knew who signaled this greeting. He naturally returned the welcome with a friendly wave.
This tiny incident lingered in my heart. I am not a spontaneous waver; I am more reserved.
Waving Equals Being Friendly
We moved to this small village in 1981. I remember one of the first things the wise school superintendent told my hubby and I was this: This is a friendly town. If someone honks, you wave. Wave even if you don’t know who is passing by.
Knowing that piece of wisdom from many years ago, my assessment that I am slow to wave made me think about how this simple act conveys friendly sociability.
The Power of Waving
Waving makes the world a better place.
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This simple gesture communicates a smile, a welcome, a saying “hello I see you and connect with you.”
I read last week one of the biggest motivators for humans is the need to be accepted and to belong. Waving hello feeds that hunger in us.
Waving is a universal greeting, sending a message of friendship, respect, and even love.
The open hand waving signals to the others you are not armed with a weapon and are a friend. The stretched out open palms communicates you are safe with me.
Is My Reserved Waving Wrong?
I am more reserved and not a quick to wave as some people. When I look “reserved” up in the thesaurus, other suggested words are: standoffish, snobbish, distant, unfriendly, cold, detached. Mmmm, not very nice words.
- I could use the excuse of being shy and modest. I am.
- I could mumble something about having a lot going on in my life and my head. I am busy.
- I could tell you, lie that I didn’t see you. Well, that’s not true.
- I do want to wave and often do – just delayed.
That’s what I can say: Sorry, I am just slow. LOL
Different Types of Waving
Have you ever thought of about the different types of waving? The Queen Elizabeth Royalty wave. The Hey You I really missed you wave.
Read more about all the styles of waving here and what they mean in this interesting article.
The Spiritual Practice of Waving
Amazing, isn’t it? What started as a simple observation as I traveled on the highway has led me into prayer conversation with God. What does this mean, Lord? What are you teaching me?
I love how God guides us when we pay attention to the ordinary around us.
My lessons so far are:
- Remember people first before my internal to do list.
- A good reminder to be aware of what my nonverbal actions/non-actions are communicating.
- While I can work on being friendly sooner, I’m an introvert who holds back in many situations. Be gentle with myself. Reserve is ok, too.
- Pay attention to when a thought or observance lingers in my heart – I may just learn something about myself or the world around me.
And next time, please honk. I could use the practice. I am working on waving hello.
Are you a spontaneous or reserved waver?
Dolly @ Soulstops.com says
Ha! I wave at my neighbors but I may be more reserved with someone I don’t know.
Jean Wise says
That makes sense, Dolly. I just thought it was an interesting self observation that I wasn’t waving as much as I used to. Is society changing that?
Lisa notes says
I love this. I will be more conscious this week of my waving! In Alabama, almost everyone is a waver, so you learn to do it without even thinking (which may defeat its purpose!). ha.
Jean Wise says
I wonder if more wave in the friendly south than say NYC? City vs country? 20th century vs 221 century? My imagination is going wild – maybe this gesture will fade away all together some day. YIKES that’s a scary thought.
Debra L. Butterfield says
I’m probably a reserved waver–living in large cities and overseas has made me more conscious of evil. Perhaps even my military experience has taught me to be less friendly. I remember times when a honk meant a friendly “hello” more often than it meant “get out of my way.” Once when I was riding with my sister through the country, I noticed she waved to every car that passed. When I asked her why she always waved, her answer was much the same “just being friendly.” Thanks for this reminder that waving is a good thing. 🙂
Jean Wise says
I think you are right about the big city vs rural areas for waving. Also a change in society as a whole too affecting it. Waving can be such a warm greeting too and one I do want to do more of, of course in the safest manner.
Martha Orlando says
It’s so amazing how God can use the smallest gestures that we often take for granted, such as waving, to wake us up to a new reality. This made me ponder the kind of waver I am – I think I’m more spontaneous than not, but I will certainly note my behavior in the future.
Blessings, Jean, and thanks for the ongoing prayers!
Jean Wise says
So glad to see Danny is finally home. Now still lots of prayers for a healthy recovery and for you to find some rest and self care too.!!