Saturday saw us enjoying lunch with some pastor friends at a small restaurant. The place was pretty empty, so we sat there a couple of hours, catching up since we hadn’t seen each other in two years. Our waitress, I’ll call her J, was personable and funny.
As we neared the end of our stay, our friend Mark asked J an interesting question: Is there anything we can pray about for you? She looked startled at first, but then plopped down in a chair and wondered where to start. J shared some concerns she has for her sister and herself. We said we’d pray and after receiving her permission, we prayed with her right there.
We continued to talk and joke until it was time for us to leave. J seemed to enjoy our presence in her life for those few hours.
Sunday, Les and I went to another restaurant. Remembering our experience with J, I engaged our new waitress B in a conversation. We talked about the origin of her name and found out she was working to pay for school. We talked about the tasty food. We smiled at her.
As our time drew to a close, B came and thanked us for being so nice to her. “I don’t seem to get pleasant customers on Sundays,” she told us. Remembering Mark’s question to J, I asked if there was anything we could pray about for her. Again, a startled look, followed by a request for her grandmother’s health. The restaurant was crowded and B was busy, so we didn’t offer to pray with her there, but we did pray.
These two encounters have had me thinking about the number of people we simply don’t notice in the course of a day—the receptionist, the cashier, the coffee girl, the lifeguard, the garage attendant. How would their lives and ours be different if we truly saw them, spoke with them, and validated their worth as human beings, not for how efficiently they can serve us?
The first magazine article I ever sold was published in the long-defunct Virtue magazine. It was on something I called The Zacchaeus Principle and was based on Jesus’s encounter with Zacch as he headed toward into Jericho (found in Luke 19 in the Bible). Jesus did four things with Zacch that can transform our relationships.
- He stopped.
- He made eye contact.
- He used Zacch’s name.
- He made him feel valued.
Those four simple steps can transform our interactions with people. They will make the world a better place because the people we apply these steps to will feel they’ve been seen. Like J and B, they will smile a bit brighter, knowing that someone values them. So tell me, who are you going to see today?
2 thoughts on “Do You See Me Now?”
In Sacred Parenting, Gary Thomas talks about how parenting, especially young children, when you’re doing all kinds of thankless stuff like changing diapers and endless clean-up, you begin to appreciate other people who do so-called thankless things. He says he started using the cashier’s name at the grocery store saying, “Thank you, (name).” And they, too, would be shocked that someone used their name. Now that Phil works fast-food, I take extra time to look at someone’s name. I mean, the name tags are there for a reason, right? Sometimes I’m still too timid to use their name, though. Guess I gotta get out of my intorvert comfort zone!
I know what you mean about using the names on the tag, Lisa. Les always does it, but sometimes the cashier gives him a strange look, like they believe he is a stalker!