So I’m sitting at a small two seat table in one of my favorite places to eat this afternoon, waiting for my lunch appointment who failed to show, and I found myself growing very uncomfortable. Not because the chair wasn’t inviting, though I must say it wasn’t all that exciting, not because I wasn’t feeling well, not because I didn’t like the smell or anything like that. It seemed, the longer I sat the more uncomfortable I grew, and more uncomfortable after that. Then I had a revelation, I was alone. In the middle of a restraunt feeling the strain of a busy lunch hour, I felt completely alone. I tried texting someone I knew, calling a friend, pretending to check emails on my phone, but nothing would ease the tension.
I sat there for what seemed to be hours sipping on a glass of chai tea as I waited on my spicy korean, when something shattered my little area of comfort that I had created in a very uncomfortable moment. A woman maybe forty five or so, looking much like my high school chemistry teacher, parked herself right next to me. I must admit it was actually somewhat comical as she tried to inch herself into a seat, in the process giving me a perfect view of her rear end. If I weren’t uncomfortable enough, this pushed the envelope.
I sat trying my best not to notice her, not to make eye contact, trying to look busy with my phone. I continued to fork mouth fulls of my lunch, which I’m not enjoying at all by now. Finally I manage to clean up the last bite. Just before I stand to leave I notice a small blond haired girl sitting right across from me. As we make eye contact her face lights up with a giant smile. It shatters my little world, and I can’t help but smile back. As I stood and walked out the door, my heart sank. I suddenly realized what it feels like to be alone and then what it feels like in that lonliness to have someone notice you.
As a pastor, I seldom find myself alone. I may feel alone, but I’m never truly alone. I now know what it feels like and I must say I’m disappointed in myself for not at least extending some physical sign that I knew the woman sitting next to me existed. That smile ruined my day.
We live in a world where people are so extremely disconnected from one another. Standing in a crowded airport or bus depot, you can suddenly feel very lonely. We weren’t created to be alone. I want to present a challenge to those who are content existing inside a bubble, get out of that bubble. Jesus spent his life getting very personal with people. I instantly think about the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus totally invaded her space, but the woman needed that. People need to feel like they are noticed and cared about…even strangers. Why should we go through life never making contact with people who are around us. News Flash, they are people, just like you. They want to be noticed, just like you. They don’t like feeling lonely, just like you. If they say they do, they are lying. Break the bubble.