At the church service today, I took the time to see – really pay attention to – the people around me. (Being a writer causes one to do that, you know.) Some observations were readily apparent. But then I wondered – what parts of their lives was I actually witnessing?
The man beside us laughed loudly at jokes and made numerous side comments throughout the service.
- Was he truly that delighted to be there and wanted all to know?
- Or was that his “cover,” so that some insecurity wouldn’t be noticeable to others?
The children singing for the special music clapped uncomfortably and swayed stiffly from side to side.
- Were they embarrassed, as young people can be when placed on stage in front of a group?
- Or were they singing with joy and doing their awkward best?
The woman in a wheelchair in front of us nodded off to sleep from time to time.
- Was she that bored and unmoved by the service?
- Or was it all she could manage just to get up that morning and get dressed and be present?
Another woman near us rocked repeatedly from side to side and nodded her head often.
- Was she consumed by that much attention deficit?
- Or was it in response to the tremor that was apparent when her other movements stopped?
What we see in others is often colored by the lens through which we are looking.
To have a vision filled with understanding, compassion, and kindness is my prayer.