Are you in a rush today? Most days? Do you, like me, sometimes get so bent on “finishing the list” that people stop looking like God’s children and morph into obstacles to your agenda?
Some time ago Steve and I toured a wonderful place called Camphill Village, a 615 acre community of 250 people, over 100 of whom are adults with developmental difficulties. As we walked the grounds, I was astounded by the friendly interest of nearly everyone we met. Over and over, people we had never seen before stopped what they were doing, looked us in the eye, and greeted us with sincere enthusiasm. They took the time to ask us questions with genuine interest. “Where are you from?” “Do you have children?” “What are their names?” “Oh, Elizabeth? How is Elizabeth doing?”
No conversation was very long. (It was a nippy morning, and everyone had somewhere to go.) Still, every encounter was heartwarming. I felt acknowledged, cared about. And how many minutes had their daily tasks been delayed? Not many, really. Not enough to matter.
How many times have I bought a dozen grocery items without speaking to the checker or looking the sacker in the eye? I’ve also rushed neighborly conversations at the mailbox or avoided bumping into a friend at the mall because a five-minute chat would put me behind. Behind what? Aren’t the people in our lives more important than anything else? Isn’t it into their lives that we are meant to pour ours?
Jesus asked us to be like little children, and little children rarely rush by others in hurried disregard. He also said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). Perhaps loving begins with noticing.
So now I have an imaginary tattoo on my wrist, a transparent “C” to remind myself that I am a Christian and I have been to Camphill. It’s time to start stopping again.