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.