Communion. Fellowship. Connection. It’s what humans crave, it’s what we live for. I am living in a world full of many faces, different personalities and ways of living. Everywhere I go I encounter, pass by, and meet people, who are in a way, just like me. Everyone, every single person on this planet, has their problems or their ‘cross to bear’ as my dad would say. We all have our way of living, emotions that are not so different than your neighbor. Most people have experienced heartache, love, joy, depression, madness…It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do or where you live, we are all made in the same way and we all want the same thing.
Picture yourself walking down a street, one that you have walked down several times before. You probably walk down it every single day and each day you are constantly passing unfamiliar faces. The buildings and sights may be the same but every person you pass is different. They don’t know who you are and you don’t know them. Do you ever stop to wonder who that person is? What their story is, and how they came about to walking down the same street you are? Some may recognize you as another human being and politely say hello or others may move past you without even a glance. It makes you realize how different people are, in their raising and how they react to their surroundings. I come to find that no two people are alike. Only by chance or intervention do we get to encounter a stranger and it is always exciting when there is a small connection, that small exchange was all you needed to keep moving on in life. It doesn’t bother me to interact with strangers, because in way, they are just like me. People want to be accepted and interact with other people, it is our nature.
I worked at a bookstore coffee shop and I served coffee and every day I would see numerous amounts of people just coming and going. To pass the time I usually just people-watched and especially in the bookstore you would see some interesting characters. Old people, young people, families, college students, teenagers, all types. You can tell the ones that are having a bad day by the way they treat you or the comments they make. Or if they are friendly people, because they are genuinely happy and actually acknowledge me. Just by handing over a cup coffee or them paying me I can tell a lot about a person. Looking at their clothing and hair and their stamina it tells a lot about who they are. First impressions are usually never right, but by observing you can kind of tell what is going on. Like the one young girl with her three boys most likely a single mother and completely strung out by her time being consumed by her children. Or the older couple that always greets me and tells me how wonderful I am with their bright smiles and loving attitude. You can tell they have a relationship with Jesus and are kind people.
One day I was working, an older couple approached me and they both ordered their coffee. When I usually encounter older couples, the men are pretty grumpy. You never know the reason, whether they are mad at the world or simply angry at getting older, something seems to tick them off. I handed them their coffee and the wife walks away with hers and the man continued to pay. Once the transaction was over I handed him his money and receipt looked straight into his eyes and smiled really big and said, “You have a great day.” I have never seen the biggest, most genuine smile come from a person, it was like his whole face completely lit up and he replied quite sincerely, “You too.” He walked away with a different demeanor and look on his face and there I knew I had impacted somebody’s life. By small gestures like a smile, or nod, even just an acknowledgement that a person exists, this means something! I think it is important to connect with people, have contact because it makes us not look at ourselves so much. To realize that there are other people in the world who are just like you.
I love connecting with people, I love getting to know who they are and what their story is. At the coffee shop I formed several relationships with customers and it was because I cared about them and treated them like a fellow human being. The first time it is hello, how are you? Then the next visit it is, I like your purse or that is a wonderful book. The next visit it is, what are you all up to today? Then sometimes I would get on first name basis. There was this woman and her elderly mother who came on every other Saturday to get coffee. I was always friendly and they were equally as friendly back. We talked about every day things and even shared a few laughs. One day they came in and I asked the woman’s mother what they were up to today because usually they would shop on Saturdays. She told me they couldn’t be out long because her husband was at home and is suffering from lung cancer and she had to take care of him. Saturday mornings with her daughter was a chance for her to escape for a little while. I wouldn’t have found this out if I didn’t form some kind of relationship with the woman and her daughter.
I think we were meant to react and connect with other humans, no matter who you are and where you come from. I think that they there are some people whose paths we aren’t meant to cross. It depends on whose life we are supposed to touch or give a smile too. You never know who is going to walk into your life next.