what made me pause in the supercenter aisle

Not too long ago I was struck with a deep thought, halfway between the stationery and pop aisles of Walmart. (Yes, I’m highly aware of the incongruity: deep thought + Walmart?)

Navigating the obstacle course that is the center aisle, I realized I was watching wobbly cart wheels, wan produce, cardboard displays – looking anywhere except into the faces of the people I passed.

And the thought struck me . . . Why don’t I really look at people? Why do I go my merry way, skipping around live souls God created? How can I so easily walk past someone without truly seeing her?

I guess it’s just easier that way, easier not to get involved.

I mean, what if they don’t smile back? What if he thinks I’m staring? What if I see something I don’t know how to deal with – like supreme sorrow or listless eyes? What if she actually <gasp> started talking to me?

Or perhaps I’m too wrapped up in myself. Yes, it’s far from pristine, but after all it’s what I think of most of the time – my small, little life.

Or maybe, just maybe, I have nothing to offer them today: no smile, no nod, no hope. Only eyes as empty as theirs might be.

So, I hide behind shyness, glancing at pretty baubles and cardboard – ANYWHERE but at the faces.

Look sign

Later I read the story of the rich young ruler confronting Jesus, and I’m struck by the little “stage direction” before Jesus’ final line in this scene:

And Jesus, looking at him, loved him.  (Mark 10:21)

 Here’s Jesus confronted by a man hoping to gain the “Good Teacher’s” approval. Stopped in His tracks by a man eager to brag of the ways he’s been good and done good all his life. Jesus doesn’t laugh at him or nod disappointedly or tell him, “Seriously? You think you’ve kept every commandment perfectly since the day you were born? Oh brother!”

Jesus instead gives the Pause and the Look. He stops and truly SEES the poor, searching, young man. And when Jesus truly sees this man, He loves him.

I want to be so overwhelmed by this same love and grace toward me that I become proficient at the Pause and the Look.

My prayer? That even in a supercenter aisle, Jesus’ love will stop me in my tracks, discard silly only-me thoughts, and overflow onto others so I truly see them, and maybe, just maybe, they catch a glimpse of great grace.

Janna, Grace Embracer

P.S. Have you ever felt like you’re not truly seen?

sign photo: creative commons, courtesy of timlewisnm
child photo: public domain, courtesy of lisa runnels

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