I thought I knew her well, seeing her come into the bank often. Each time we would have a small conversation about what is going on in her life and she would leave. And that was that.
Until today. As she was getting ready to leave, she mentioned to me that she was thinking about moving in a couple months.
Me: Where are you thinking about moving to?
Her: Oh, down with my daughter.
And then she added something that has touched and challenged me ever since:
“Nobody sees me. I go to Walmart and the grocery store and nobody sees me. Nobody realizes how lonely it is being here, all alone without family or friends.”
And we could have had an amazing conversation after that. However, I was so stuck in my own head, trying to figure out what I could say to her and not get in trouble with my job. And before I could resolve that in my mind, she walked out the door.
Oh how I wish I would have said to her, “I see you! Do you know how important you are? Do you know how special you are? Do you know how loved you are?”
I wish I would have just stepped out from behind my desk and given her a hug.
And it’s made me wonder how many people all around me every day feel the same way but don’t know how to say it out loud. I know that I feel that way often too. In an age where we are more “connected” than ever, we are ironically more disconnected than we have ever been and we are longing for real companionship.
The movie Avatar had a big impact on me when it taught me the simple phrase, “I see you.” In the movie, they used it like a greeting, but it had a deeper meaning. It meant, “I’m not simply walking by you nor am I dismissing your presence. I am making a conscious effort to be here with you in this moment. I see you.”
That means the simple five minute encounters with customers throughout the day, or the eight hours that I spend with my coworkers. I am praying that God would help me to focus in more on where He has placed me and with whom He has placed me. What could be more important than that?