Yesterday, I left the house with several errands to run.
I had recycling to take, Walmart to brave, and a pop-in at the grocery store to make.
While I was in Walmart, my second stop, I received a phone call, during which some very sad news about one of my students was relayed.
At first I was in shock, but after I hung up, the news began to hit me.
I began to cry…so much so that I had to stop pushing my buggy.
I probably should have left, but I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish, and all I needed to do was check out. A return trip was not what I wanted.
I began to push the cart from one end of the store to the other.
Because I was visibly upset, I decided that I’d go to the self checkout.
I cried silently the entire way.
People made eye contact with me…both as I navigated around crowded aisles and then waited for a register to become available.
One couple actually tried to joke with me as they moved from one register to another.
Meanwhile, tears were pouring down my face.
I couldn’t remember what I was doing and fumbled for several minutes.
A gentleman standing near me chuckled about something he’d apparently said to me…something completely unrelated to my heart hurting.
I walked out to my car, still very upset. The tears continued to fall.
I called the Mr. to share the news that I’d received and sat in the car to collect myself before resuming my route.
That’s when it struck me…the fact that not one single person had asked if I was okay.
Nobody had offered to help.
No one smiled in gentle commiseration.
I notice these kinds of details, even when I’m sad.
I wondered, too, if I had ever been guilty of not seeing people in the midst of their need.
Are we so busy rushing around, trying to live our individual lives, that we cannot see those around us who are hurting?
Do we try too hard to stay aloof, all in the guise of “not butting in” and giving people their privacy?
I remember a drive to work several years ago. I happened to look at the car in the lane beside me at a traffic light, and I saw a woman sobbing. Oh, how I wanted to hug her, and when she turned her head, I gently smiled at her.
Folks, we have got to slow down. We’ve got to start paying attention to those around us, because sometimes all it takes is one person taking a moment or two to let us know we aren’t alone. It doesn’t take long for us to speak a gentle word…for a heart to be lifted, if even for a few seconds.
My prayer is that I will notice…that I will be brave enough to speak to someone I don’t know…that I will slow down enough to make a small difference wherever possible.
Filed under: This-n-That |