Intentional eye contact is much more difficult than it would seem. Looking forward to this exercise with anticipation for nearly a month had not been enough to hit the ground running on day one. I had already been a couple hours into my day before I remembered the goal at hand. Leading the group study, I found it difficult to keep eye contact with each person who spoke up regarding the topic. We talked about the story of Jesus telling his followers and those around him to be mindful of and serve the lease of these. (Matthew 25) The discussion was slow to begin, but eventually came around to a pretty involved discussion. The discussion came around to a recognition that our perception of a group or demographic of people can be affected and changed when we take the time to know one person. When you come to know a person’s story, you are able to really see people differently.
A person is not a statistic or a body you pass by; a person is a face with a story behind it. Just behind the eyes lies a human being, and something tells me you can see that person if you look in the right place. There has to be more beyond the eyes if we are intentional enough to look for it. There is plenty to see beyond the eyes, and I suspect you can know someone more than many others if you look just beyond the eyes. Intentionally looking just beyond the eyes can prove a great insight into the real person we rarely see, and most of spend a lot of our energy to conceal.
Pain and joy, wounds and wonder, anger and excitement all lie just beyond the eyes, and only a small amount of intentionality may open that world to us.
My small Americano with a little room for a small stream of non-fat milk is growing lukewarm, which is so much worse than cold. Did I look the barista in the eye when he took my order? As I periodically gaze into the distance with a brilliant author’s look on my face, I listen to him engage each patron to come through the door with a pleasant and warming small talk. Did he engage me the same way? Would I have noticed if he had? Have I missed an opportunity to meet someone on a deeper level than I have to suffice for today? Luckily it is only a rainy Sunday, and this is not the coffee shop I frequent throughout the week.
Day 1 was a bit of a flop. This will be more difficult than I had suspected. I will need to get my ass in gear before tomorrow. How many stories, faces, friends, and human beings will I let pass me by?