We live in a world filled with grieving people. Their hearts are breaking as they seek to be seen by another person before disappearing entirely, before becoming ghosts due to lack of meaningful human contact. Eye contact, a smile, a gentle hello could save them. Yet so many people are chained to the screens of their smartphones or to the demands of their overburdened schedules that they walk right by, never realizing that a life was diminished by their oblivion.
If you don’t believe me, I suggest you go to any nursing home in your community or to any shelter that provides housing for children without a family. Take the time to make eye contact, to actually be present. Some eyes will remain blank because they lost hope long ago, but some eyes will flicker with a new light in response to your eyes meeting theirs. In Africa, there is a tradition that illustrates the power of human connection. A person walks up to another and says, “I see you.” The other replies, “I am seen.” Until another sees and acknowledges you, you don’t exist.
Just think. You and I each have the power to save a life, to validate the worth of another by a simple act of kindness. By taking the time to smile or to say hello, we say, “I see you. You matter.” A second of your time can change a life, but it takes courage to care. It takes courage to buck the winds of “go away, you bother me”.
William Penn said, “I expect to pass through this life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.”
You know, I don’t expect to pass through this life but once either. I think I’m going to take William Penn’s words to heart and choose loving kindness. How about you?