For the past couple of years I have been interested in the subject of missing people. I am not referring to people who have been abducted or lost. I am referring to people that others “miss” on a regular basis. I’m referring to those people who don’t necessarily have anything about them that is sparkly or flashy or loud. Certainly not loud. In fact, I believe that the missing people that I am speaking of make it a point to not be loud or in any way stand out from the crowd. It must be lonely to be missing. Can you imagine if you went through your whole day and only a couple of people noticed you or spoke to you? And those who did speak to you simply did it out of necessity. Like, “hey you, how do I get to the freeway from here?”
So, I have been on a mission to find the missing people and connect with them. It can even be in very small ways. Have you ever considered the impact of looking someone in the eyes? When was the last time that you made a conscious effort to do this? I have tried it on several occasions and it is quite powerful. I think that we often get too busy. Wow, that’s the understatement of the century, isn’t it? But are we too busy for people? How much extra time does it take to maintain eye contact with someone? At least long enough to ask them a personal question.
I was in the Wal Mart parking lot a couple of weeks ago and I think I found a missing person. This young man worked there and he was collecting shopping carts. It was Halloween day and apparently Wal Mart let the employees dress up. He was dressed in doctors scrubs. I noticed a cool looking tattoo on his arm and I decided to take 5 minutes and ask him about it. Well, when this young man saw that I was genuinely interested in him I could visibly see his countenance light up. He told me all about his tattoo. Where he got it, how much it cost and he even stated that he is quite hooked on the practice and he plans to get more as his budget permits. So, that was it. I took 5 minutes to stop, focus on one person, make eye contact and ask one or two personal questions. This may have made his day and it cost me nothing. It was satisfying and so easy. To find someone who may have been lost.
There are so many ways to identify and find the lost. A pastor of a church that I used to attend once told a story of how he and his wife made friends with a waitress at a restaurant. During the conversation they learned that she was particularly fond of a certain red wine. The next time they visited they made a point to find the wine that she likes and bring her a bottle of it as a gift. It wasn’t her birthday or a holiday or anything. The waitress was very touched that these folks cared enough about her to make a special trip to the wine store to locate and purchase something that she enjoyed. Love. That’s what it is. They showed her in a tangible way that they think that she is special. Some may consider a pastor buying alcohol for someone rather risqué. I think that it is very acceptable and appropriate.
So, who do you know that is missing? Are you willing to find them? Are you willing to spend a few minutes and try to connect with them? Start with the eyes. Hold their eyes for several moments and see what happens. It is going to require stepping out of self for a few moments. In todays tight economy maybe you could give a unique gift this holiday season. The gift of yourself. The gift of caring. The gift of love.
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