Monday, July 7, 2008

Bubble Break-through

I laid my dvd choices on the counter and noticed that the worker behind it would not look me in the eye.

“How is your day going, Victoria?” I asked. She looked up at me with a surprised expression. “You know, you’re the first customer I can remember ever saying my name, and I’ve worked here for over 10 years.”

Now I was the surprised one. “But your nametag’s right there, and it is such a beautiful name,” I reassured her. “I think people just get distracted when they’re paying for things.”

She said that she thought most people just live in a bubble and don’t want to bother.

Victoria went on to thank me for taking the time just the same, and then she began to share that she hardly ever hears her name spoken out loud anymore since her husband had passed away several years before. She used to love the way he would say her name, she told me with a far away look in her eyes. She doesn’t go to church anymore because she just can’t stand her “love” not being right beside her. But she’s thankful she has the Lord by her side every single day to keep her company.

I get weepy when I think about that conversation with the precious lady at my local video store. Filled with loneliness, she was comforted by someone taking the time to notice her as a person instead of just someone behind the counter.

Whenever these moments in life happen, it causes me to examine my own existence. Hours and hours of my time are spent doing ministry, writing, taking care of my family, enjoying relationships with my friends, but I can’t help but think that maybe Victoria is right: I live in a bubble. Does that mean my time is wasted? Does that mean that I’m not pleasing the Lord with the things I’m doing? All “nos” on these questions. God is in the work of my hands, I’m sure of it! So why does it feel like I’m missing something important?

It’s because I have been. Bottom line: It has nothing to do with my time. It has everything to do with my heart. I’ve begun to ask the Lord to give me care and concern for strangers, for those that are placed in my day. For those that are in the houses next door. For all kinds of human beings that have gone unnoticed in my path. On top of it, I’ve asked Him to give me the energy and the passion to intentionally act on the desire, which is a whole separate ordeal to sort through on another day.

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful…Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
Colossians 4: 2, 5-6

Just like Jesus did, I must pray for the strength to build into others God puts in my path. I can’t do it on my own—at least not genuinely or for long. The Holy Spirit has more than enough wind to breakthrough any bubbles I’ve blown up around myself, and I pray He will do so today.

The One who calls me is faithful, and HE will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 (my paraphrase)

11 friends shared a comment:

The Herd said...

I came over from your bubble story--amazing that no one had said her name before. Makes me want to chat more now. Thanks for sharing. I am going to check out the fiction blog you post here.
(I am in TEXAS too!)

Hope said...

Great post. It has added to my pondering on the difference between surviving and living. Thanks for sharing your bubble story.

Joanne Sher said...

An amazing reminder (that I wish I'd read before I went to the grocery store today!) of how easy it is to acknowledge people in your path, and shine His light in their lives. Wonderful.

Judy said...

THanks Little ONe,
I sometimes get in such a rush I forget, others like to be recgonized..THis was such a touching peice..It doesn't take much of our time to see that others are lonely sometimes or just like to be acknowledged! With alot of prayer and Gods help I try to be more thoughtful! Thanks for cracking through our conscience and helping us to understand "Just a kind word here or there means alot" and also lets our light shine a lot abrighter! Auntie J.

Dee Yoder said...

Oh, I cried when I read this, Laura, because it brought back memories of when Jim died and I so longed to be a part of someones life again. It IS very lonely and you do find yourself wanting to be called by your name, to have someone to go home to, and to feel loved in a special way. Thanks for reminding me that all around me are people still lonely and still longing for a smile, a touch, a friendly and encouraging word. "Look outward, Dee!" That's my goal now.

Laury said...

I love connecting with sales people. Great example, Lalee, of how we should keep connecting and not live in our safe little bubbles. Thank you!

Blessed One said...

Laura, what a great observation this was - thanks for sharing. It reminded me that sometimes the most simple of things (a smile, a heartfelt greeting, saying someone's name, etc.) can make a real difference in someones life. Sending hugs and blessings my friend! ~ Tracy

Spring said...

I work as a customer service rep on the phones. People treat me like I'm not even a person, I'm just someone taking their order, and I've got to the point I basically act like a robot on the phones. Your post really got me thinking, I do the same thing with strangers and cashiers when I am out and about too. I really hope I can put in to action what you've pointed out here, I'm kind of a shy person but it would be worth coming out of my shell to make someone's day.
God bless you and thank you for stopping by my blog! Your comment made me very happy!

Anonymous said...

This really inspires me.. Thanks Laura.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Giving heed to the need. Taking time to tend to the moment. That's what your post breathes today.

People are so worth our time and attention, even in the smallest of ways.

From time to time I make my bank ladies a treat. I pulled up in the drive-thru window this morning and asked them if they were about ready for a treat. All faces turned and nodded their approval.

It's the little that means the much. Thanks for these powerful words.


Patty Wysong said...

This is such a special one, Laura--it rally strikes a chord. And it's something that's so easy to do if we're just looking for oportunities.