The city of Charleston has received numerous accolades in recent years. Both Travel and Leisure Magazine in 2011 and 2013 and Conde Nast Traveler in 2014 ranked Charleston as “America’s Most Friendly City.” Southern Living Magazine described it as “the most polite and hospitable city in America,” and Travel and Leisure even proclaimed Charleston to be the World’s Best City in 2016.
I will have to vouch for Charleston’s friendliness. It seemed that in every store we entered, the staff in restaurants, in various attractions and in the inn where we stayed were very outwardly focused. By that, I mean that when we crossed paths they genuinely appeared to want to know where we were from, what had brought us to Charleston, how they could help us, and how we were enjoying our visit. Now, I’ve been indoctrinated in Southern hospitality for all of my 60+ years, but I do believe that Charleston folks take it to an even higher level. It was refreshing and invigorating to be wanted and welcomed at every turn.
One place in particular exuded the polite and hospitable way of life in Charleston. We were strolling and browsing along King Street and wandered into the Rick Reinert Studio. The vibrant colors of his paintings drew us in, but we also spotted the outdoor courtyard in the back of the studio and paused to be refreshed and enjoy the beauty. As it happened, Mr. Reinert was busy on a painting, so we stopped to chat and watch as he worked. I learned that he has close ties with the Montgomery Museum of Art right here in Alabama!! He could have been a temperamental, grumpy artist, but he was the very opposite of that. And, I believe his warm personality comes out in his art.
What are the lessons for me, for us, this week?
Friendliness is attractive to others.
Friendliness allows conversations to take place, and that, of course, leads to opportunities to build a relationship that could result in a true friendship.
Proverbs 27:9 “Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight,
a sweet friendship refreshes the soul.”
Proverbs 17:17 “Friends love through all kinds of weather,
and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.”
I am drawn to smiles and people who are genuinely interested in what is going on in my life as much as flies are drawn to honey. I also love it when a person feels free to share what is going on in their own life. Don’t I want to be “the honey” to others?