Wednesday, September 19, 2012

When Did You Notice?

She steps on the bus for the very first time. She is a little frightened and a little out of her comfort zone. She has moved to a new area with her family and today is her first day at her new job. She has never taken the bus before today.

Everything is new to her. The sights and sounds  are raw on her emotions. Each one brings her head to turn. She takes notice of everything. She sits. Looks next to her and before she can say a word the woman sharing her seat looks up and smiles. Introduces herself with the love of Christ shining in her eyes. Her words are like honey. This first morning is finding ease through one woman willing to turn away from her own interests and bring a bit of sanity to this young woman on her first journey through the city.

A few months pass. Her seat companion is there with the same smile and heartfelt hello. The young woman is feeling more confident now. She is more comfortable. She now opens up her newest book bought from the book store just down from her house.

Time passes quickly. Her angel of meeting is still there to give her a good morning word, filled with joy. She now opens her laptop and begins the article she has been fast at work on. She has more editing and it has her attention so much she almost misses her stop.

Again she takes her seat to the warmth of the woman with the smile. She gets busy on her smart phone, texting and sending emails to all those important people of the day. She checks her face book and moves on the Macy's site to see the new sales.

A year down the road and she is on the same route to work. Stepping up into the bus, her eyes are covered with her shades. She sits and doesn't even look out the window. The sights and sounds that captivated her on that first day no longer grab her attention. She reaches into her bag to pull out her laptop and she hears, "Is this seat taken?" Without realizing, she speaks, for the first time in months. "No, not at all."

It's five O'clock and she is ready for home. All she is thinking about is taking her heals off, a nice hot bath, but first she must attend to her children and have dinner started before her husband arrives home from his busy day. All her thoughts are directed at what she must be doing and someone hands her a card. It's a sympathy card, addressed to a Mr. Baxter and Family. She looks up and says, "Excuse me, but what is this?" The gentle woman who handed her the card says, "It's for Betsy's family. She died last week." Well now, she is totally confused. "Um..who is Betsy?" The humble woman looks down at her as she is seated and says, "Betsy, the woman you have been sitting next to for the past year."

Now she realizes. She's thinking to herself, now I know she sat here next to me yesterday. No, yesterday she looked down and noticed she had gum on her new pumps, but didn't notice Betsy was missing. All this time and she never even knew her name.

After she is home and now in the tub she remembers back to that first day on the bus when Betsy made her feel welcome and safe. Betsy smiled at everyone. She asked people how their family was doing. Once she even held a baby so the mother could get a few moments rest on the ride. She chatted with everyone. She would even bring a snack to share.

She signed that card and got the funeral arrangements. She decided to go. Goodness, did she even know Betsy enough to attend? What would she say? She didn't have to say anything. Betsy's husband came to her. Placed her hand in his and said, "Sarah, it's so nice to finally meet you. Betsy talked about you all the time. She really enjoyed sitting next to you." Sarah was blown speechless.

Has this ever happened to you? Maybe you have been the Betsy or maybe at times have been the Sarah. I think I have been both at one time or another. As of late I have felt more like the Betsy. Unnoticed.

We can get so caught up in our own little world that we miss out on what is around us. Namely people. People just want to be loved. They want to be accepted and they want to be noticed. Here is the kicker. They want to be noticed when they are not there any longer.

Wouldn't it be better to notice them while they were there? Why is it so hard for us to reach out to other people? Our phones have become our life giver. We get so wrapped up in what we are doing we don't even ask others what they are up to.

I too have been Sarah. Things have happened. People have become sick and my answer is, "Well, I didn't even know they were in the hospital." Now sometimes that isn't our fault. It happens and we are shocked and totally unaware, but not because we don't care. Lets be honest. Sometimes it's because we didn't take the time to notice.

Just think if Sarah could have remained with her eyes and ears open to all that was around her. Just think if she hadn't gotten so comfortable and caught up in herself. Look at the blessings she would have reaped by just knowing Besty.

It happens before we know it.

Lets make tomorrow different. Lets change all about tomorrow. Let loose of that comfort. Reach out to the new girl. Have lunch with a different crowd. Put that book away. Keep the laptop in the bag. Turn that phone on silent for a while. Allow your senses to roam. Give your eyes freedom to see things brand new. Turn your ear to the one you barely give a morning nod to. Most of all, open your heart and be the vessel the Lord is calling us to be. He is wanting us to reach out beyond ourselves and make someone else feel important. Special. Loved. Involved.

When someone has been missing for months, don't let that be your sign to call them. Be involved so that when they are missing for a day, you take notice. Remember cards? People love receiving cards in the mail and yes, hand written letters are still beautiful and welcome today. A phone call is so much warmer than a text.

I know..I've been that Betsy for a while now...Just sayin', I think we can all do better at reaching out to those close by.

"Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others too." Philippians 2:3-4
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