The people we casually pass may be an opportunity for us to touch a life.
My wife and I were having lunch awhile back at the Chick-fil-A on Highway 5 (one of my favorite places to grab a bite). As we were eating, I was just casually watching the faces of my fellow patrons. Some were with friends or spouses, possibly even co-workers–but what stuck in my mind was the faces of those that were eating alone and looked lonely. It seems to me, that in this day of high-tech gadgets and instant connectivity, there is no reason why we should look lonely. But, we are alone. A great many of us do not know a close friend or have a personal connection with someone. We fall prey to these feelings so readily–you can scarcely read your e-mail without being attacked with “Douglasville singles want to meet you!” Sadly, even when we are with someone, we still feel alone on the inside–disconnected and wanting more.
This is not a commentary or relationship advice, or where to meet your next true love. We all have an inherent desire to belong and feel connected. We seek this connection in so many places. Some are very positive, like social groups, volunteer work or family functions–some are self destructive, like risky social behavior, collapsing under peer pressure or even resorting to substance abuse to deaden the emptiness for a bit.
I am not trying to impute these qualities to my fellow patrons of Chick-fil-A, but how many people do we come into contact with on a daily basis that need a moment of connection–a few words of encouragement–a short conversation to validate them and let them know that they are a person and some one has noticed them. As empty and alone as we feel on our worst day, and as much as simple “hello” or “good morning” would have lifted our spirits, there is someone you will come into contact with that is right now in that place. Don't shrink away in shame or doubt, but step up to the momentary need of another. Ten seconds of your time could change their entire day.
After Cain slew his brother Abel, God asked Cain “Where is your brother?” Cain's response was in the form of a question. “Am I my brother's keeper?” God never answered Cain's question. I think because the answer is so obvious. Part of our purpose is to be our brother's keeper.