I would consider myself a pleasant,friendly person. Generally speaking, however, I don’t talk to people on airplanes. I don’t make conversations in the grocery line and I don’t seek to make friends with strangers at my son’s baseball games. Hmmm. Maybe I’m not as friendly as I think I am…
There are reasons for this; in my head. Right? We all have reasons why we behave the way we do. One reason is that I’m not big on small talk. I’m a relationship person. I like to go beneath the surface to really dig in with people. I don’t find brief, small talk in public situations rewarding. Another reason is that I like to respect people’s space; their privacy. Maybe the chick on the airplane doesn’t want to be bothered while reading that book….
Contrarily, I really do love people. Humans intrigue me. I like to watch people. Listen to people. I like to observe body language. I find it fascinating.
Oftentimes when we are out to dinner with our friends Rex & Kat, Rex will make up stories about the people at a nearby table. He’ll observe them and say ” that’s Billy and his wife of 28 years Gertrude, and she can’t decide if she wants the fish.” We all laugh and add to the story of Billy and Gertie and their night out…
The truth is, Billy and Gertrude have a whole separate life from mine going on. Maybe they’re celebrating a promotion? Or maybe she just got a clean bill of health after a cancer scare.
We get so caught up in our own worlds.
I am usually in a hurry. My days are planned out with little “down time” factored in. There’s stuff to do. Kids to shuttle and of course a workout to squeeze in. However, this hyper-scheduling, and harried pace is diametrically opposed to my God-given purpose and major goals in life: I want to help. I want to create quality experiences with people. I want to make relationships with other humans. Real relationships that inspire, encourage, challenge. I don’t just want to talk about the weather.
What is one of the most important commodities to achieving this goal in my life? Time.
I must slow down. I must be intentional about slowing down. I believe when you make a life decision like this, God rewards it.
I met Stella* in Target the other day. As surely as I needed to rush out of there to pick up my son from school, I slowed down. I listened. I asked questions. And the funny thing is Stella talked. She shared. Right there in Target. She went beneath the surface. I can’t say if it was rewarding for her. But I can’t tell you it was rewarding for me. I was genuinely interested in Stella for those few moments. Stella has custody of her 2 grandchildren and cares for her disabled husband. She loves big. I could tell life has been hard on her by no choosing of her own. I encouraged her. I championed her. She is indeed a hero to those grandchildren and her husband.
That was out of my comfort zone. I would have rather read the text message that came through on my phone and rushed out.
But I believe that was a little gift from God, put in my path as I requested:
God, who can I serve today so powerfully that they remember it for the rest of their life???
Slow down. Stella may need you.
*I changed her name to honor her privacy.