I was meeting with someone last week who noticed my ring and asked how long I had been married. "Marriage is grand," he said, "and divorce is five hundred grand." You could feel the tragedy even through the joke. I laughed somewhat nervously and paused to let him elaborate. Just behind the humor was an obvious sadness.
A few days later another person told me about his childhood and the pain he felt from being made fun of for being overweight. In the brief time we were together he told the whole story from elementary school to today. As an overweight kid he dreaded shopping for clothes because nothing fit. To this day he won't even step foot into a clothing store because of the deep scars from the criticism about his body.
The reality is that everyone has something they're dealing with, from issues as simple as a stressful day at work to travesties as heavy as losing a child. Since last week's post, I've made it a point to try to listen well, and to no surprise, people have opened up about what's weighing them down.
I want to be brief but pointed today, because we desperately need the reminder...
Every single person is waging a war we are oblivious to. Our unexpected, simple act of kindness in the form of a listening ear could be the turning point for a wearied soul. It's not coincidence that Jesus said loving your neighbor (everyone you come into contact with) is second only to loving God.
I think the greatest challenge we face today, right this moment, is distraction. And our greatest opportunity is undivided attention to the things God has called us to--intimate, genuine, loving relationships with the real people sitting across from us.
So pay attention today. Someone needs you.