It doesn’t matter who they are. As soon as she sees them walking towards her, the little hand pops up over the edge of the stroller, waving hello.
She sees them.
The neighbours. The dog walkers. The ones busily shouting into their phones. The ones walking alone. Old. Young. The ones I’d chose to avoid eye-contact with.
She sees all of them.
And I can’t help but wonder what life would be like if I stopped to truly see them too.
I’m quick to look past people. To focus on my next task, the next step. And this gut reaction is especially evident now. How quickly the advice to “stay two meters away” morphs into an instinct to “avoid eye-contact” and “hurry away.”
As we speed past, I wonder if “seeing people” truly effects anything. It’s a second in time. Here and then gone. Surely, we can’t make a difference in someone’s life in a mere second?
And yet… The smile and wave she gives makes people stop and smile back. A momentary interaction that changes their entire countenance.
Would I get the same response with a smile and a wave? Probably not. But as I remind myself to actually see the people I’m passing on the street, I’m struck by the incredible love of God for that individual. I can’t see their scars. I can’t see the burdens they’re carrying or the wounds that are festering. But HE sees. HE knows. HE cares.
Our lives intersect for the briefest of moments — passing each other from the far ends of a sidewalk. A second. Easily forgotten. Easily overlooked. But as I walk through the neighbourhood with my eyes fixed on Christ, I see the ones I wouldn’t otherwise see.
Heading off in opposite directions, I’m drawn to prayer for them — an invitation to see them as He sees them and, for the briefest of moments, to lift them before Him.
They may be surrounded by prayer warriors, or this may be the only prayer they receive all day. And while they’ll never know that I’m doing it, I believe that these momentary offerings to God have power. I believe that God hears these silent, too-quick prayers for my neighbours.
As I consciously focus on the fact that the person walking towards me is FULLY known and WHOLLY loved by the God of the universe, my heart is being transformed by His love. And perhaps, these quick prayers are my first, baby-steps in loving this community better. In seeing clearer.
As we walk the neighbourhood, my daughter reminds me of the power of a smile. Of the power of prayer. And that even though we may feel far apart, EVERYONE is seen.