Most days I stop on my way into work and grab a drink. Almost always I stop at the same convenience store. As a result, I recognize the staff. Sometimes I even take the opportunity to talk with the folks who are busy stocking and checking and cleaning. Small world…I served as youth pastor to one of these young people once upon a time.
Thinking about the pattern my life usually takes, I find that I run into folks over and over again as I stop into the grocery store, the restaurants I frequent, my kid’s school, and probably a dozen other places I visit frequently.
I know the names of some of these “regulars”. I don’t know their favorite colors. I don’t know what they ate for dinner last night. I don’t know what they drive or how far they travel to make it to the places where I see them.
And yet, I recognize if they are gone. I could probably tell if they weren’t feeling well. I have some sense of who they are.
I am connected to them and yet they remain mostly a mystery to me.
They are strangers that I know.
Not the details of their lives, but in the roles in which they interact with me. I know the face they present to the world in these various social settings.
I’m thinking most of my “relationships” could be summarized this way. Maybe this is the way all relationships start?
I know something about you. I know a story or a thought. I recognize when you get your hair cut. I sense when you’d rather be somewhere else, when you are distracted, when you are excited, when you are happy. Maybe that basic interaction leads to something more. Maybe what I “know” about you leads to deeper understanding. Maybe we get to know each other.
Maybe when I pray for those “out there”…I’m praying for you.
Maybe when I think about those I could have a deeper relationship with…I’m thinking about you.
Maybe when I hope to invite someone to experience the life made possible in Jesus…I’m hoping I might have an opportunity to share the invitation with you.
Most people in this world will remain strangers to me. There are billions of us after all. Maybe in this life a few of those strangers will become something more. Maybe if I’m open to it. Maybe if they/you are open to it.
Life is better together,