She returns home each evening and relays the day’s customer service interactions. She wears a uniform and a name tag to work and “That”, she says, “has made me a non-person in the eyes of the customers. It’s like I’m a robot, a machine or just a thing. They don’t look me in the eye, talk to me or acknowledge that I am a person. I want to wear a sign that says talk to me, I’m real!”
She accompanies me to the grocery store now and I lose track of her on every aisle. When I backtrack I find she is having a conversation with the store clerk who is wearing gloves, stocking the freezer section. Not just “hey, how you doing” but a real conversation, listening and interacting. I find she looks everyone in the eyes these days. Really looking at them. Her pace is slower and she notices the people, all the people, around her. She sees them. She treats them like real people that she cares about. She’s walked in their shoes, she’s one of them. And they look back. They smile. And you see them respond, converse with her and become real people.
I saw this picture while the two of us were visiting NYC last weekend. “Christ on a Train” by an unknown artist. And I thought of her. She has been demonstrating for me simple ways of being “Christ On A Train”. Slowing down long enough to notice. To sit with people. To look them in the eye. To see beyond their uniform, name tag or stereotype. To see them as people created by the same one who created me. Loved by the same one who loves me. And the very ones I am asked to love as well.
She’s teaching me a lot these days.