I just came back from a leadership conference where the famous story, “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder came up. Our speaker, Dr. Murray Flagg shared on the tale of a young woman, Emily Webb who dies but has the remarkable opportunity to revisit one day in her life. She can’t change anything or speak to anyone but she has the chance to see first hand that entire day as it played out and strictly as a spectator. Her day begins in the kitchen from her childhood and there she is as a 12 year old girl, her family bustling around her; busy from the demands of the day. Emily realizes that although her family members speak to one another, they really don’t see one another. They are so consumed with what needs to be tended to that they truly miss who they are speaking to. And although this is set in the 1930’s how much of that has changed? Here we are in 2010 and as far as I can see we haven’t even begun to slow down!
As you walk down the street, through offices, in the mall and even at church, people are texting, emailing, updating and calling. To-Do lists are growing by leaps and bounds and just when you think you are beginning to catch up, new items are added. Families bounce back and forth from soccer practice to karate to music lessons and usually, parents find just enough time to prepare a very quick meal, showers for the kids and a kiss on the cheek as the child slowly drifts off to sleep.
As we walk through our daily routine, do we really look deep into the eyes of our children, our spouse, our boss, our co-workers, our friends, our family or people in general as they pass us by on the street. Do we ever really STOP what we’re doing and just sit there for a minute? Look around you, breathe in and out. As we make our way to an appointment, do we ever take the time to glance over at the car next to us to possibly catch someone weeping; someone who has just experienced loss, providing us with an opportunity to pray for that person and to realize it isn’t all about us.
Let’s re-focus on those around us and pay attention to the details. When someone shares a thought or asks a question, whether it’s someone we work with or our very own children, let’s stop what we’re doing and really listen. When we walk down the street, catch someone’s eye, smile or wave and if we see someone needing help or just sitting in a pool of sadness, speak to them, show them you care even if they’re a complete stranger. The few minutes we take for one another can produce a lifetime of change