There's something about being around a lot of people, amidst the hustle and bustle of everyone's daily lives, that makes you reflect on yourself. The movement that surrounds you as you remain still suddenly unveils the thoughts that race through your mind. Something about the hectic world, moving so systematically, always seems to clarify the millions of thoughts running through my head. As if in that moment I realize that the world is a much bigger place than my fears and worries and concerns. More importantly it reminds me that God is so much bigger, and His plans are so much more perfect than any plan I could imagine.
Last week I had a training downtown Indy, and I decided to take my lunch break on the circle at possibly one of the busiest times of the day. I tried to read a book, but found myself captivated by all the life moving around me. The faces, the stories, the movement. I was in awe. I realized just how rarely I stop to appreciate the life around me. I didn't want to do anything but sit and watch everyone move around me. Looking at their faces, and accepting their untold stories. The moment you accept that everyone has something hiding behind a face in a crowd is the moment you see humanity and God's work in those around you, and that is a powerful thing. So often we get caught up in our own struggles, our own battles, and we forget the life around us. We forget that everyone has a story, and everyone has felt or continues to feel pain. We forget that we are not alone. As I sat back, I watched so many stories pass me by. I watched God's creation walk past me.
And I realized that in the brokenness of humanity, God's love shines.
So often I avoid eye contact with strangers, I scurry past a crowd pretending to distract myself with a glance at my phone or a cold stare forward. But today I smiled. A man at a food stand smiled and wished me a good day, and instead of fearing the worst I smiled back. I took a moment and let my guard down, and allowed myself to let a stranger touch my heart. He will never know how much that moment meant to me, but I instantly realized the importance of community… the importance of connections. Of allowing God to open my heart despite my fears and insecurities. Allowing God to use a smile to brighten the day of a stranger. But most importantly trusting in God's protection. I live in such fear of openness, that I lack trust in Him to keep me safe. He has never failed me, and He never will fail me.
Imagine the impact we could have if we stopped fearing interaction, and started embracing God's creation. So the next time you walk in a crowd instead of pulling your phone out to avoid the story's walking past... try to smile. You never know who needs to feel the warmth of God's love through something as simple as a smile.