(This blog is inspired by a story in my new book- and a 3 minute reflection can be viewed on facebook live here: https://www.facebook.com/LauriePolichShort/ )
It was 6 a.m. at a gym I had found in a town that wasn’t mine. I was half asleep when I climbed onto the elliptical to get my morning jolt. However, on this particular morning, that jolt came a little differently than I expected.
“HI BROTHER!” the man next to me bellowed out, at a volume that nearly pitched me off my machine.
It wasn’t me he was addressing, but another man thirty feet away.
A smile grew on that man’s face as he waved back and then began his morning routine.
“I didn’t know you were here!” he yelled to someone else across the room, and that man came over to shake his hand.
One person after another slowly ambled in as the gym greeter called out various salutations from his elliptical two machines away.
“How’s that grandbaby?” he asked a woman who looked to be about seventy-five. She came over to his machine to show him pictures.
“I see that heart working,” he shouted to a man discouraged about his last ten pounds.
Some came over and visited with him. Others walked by and waved. With each conversation he had, I learned something about the people around me that I would have otherwise barely noticed.
The whole atmosphere of the gym changed as this man elicited warmth and care that spread like a blanket over the room.
John Ortberg says in “Soul Keeping” that if we are aware that God is looking at someone the same moment we are looking at them, it will change the way we respond to them. The people in front of you are no longer just “fellow exercisers,” “grocery shoppers,” or “wait staff”; they are people with bigger lives than the roles they are in. Knowing you are only witnessing a small part of their story not only changes the way you view them, it can shape the interaction you have.
And that interaction- for better or for worse- can impact what happens in their life next.
My prayer is that this awareness will be a filter on your eyes this season. With it, you’ll have clearer vision to see who God is putting in your path.
** If you know someone who is hurting this Christmas season, I am putting my book on sale here: https://laurieshort.com/shop/