Eye Contact

Afraid of what you may see?
Added: Saturday, 7 June 2008

watch original V-Blog in Persian

Picture this: You park your car and rush towards a restaurant, which you're running late getting to. A parking attendant starts chasing after you.

-"Ma'am!"
-"Later!"
-"Ma'am!"
-"I'll pay you later! My God!"

Finally he catches up and you turn around, annoyed at his persistence.

-"What?!"
-"Ma'am, you dropped your wallet".

Has this ever happened to you? It's happened to me a bunch of times: the bag-lady in the street who stopped me not for money or a job, but because she needed help switching on her brand new cell phone; the man on the street corner who asked me to roll down my window, not because he wanted petty cash, but because he needed to know the time...

It's a real wake up call every time that happens. And it happens a lot in South Africa. The other day I was stuck in traffic, watching a man selling his magazines in the cold winter air. Despite literally shivering, he had a warm, gentle smile on his face. But people ignored him. Some get busy with their cell phones, others stretch out their arm; "talk to my hand", and one man remained absolutely motionless. He was in the car in front of me, so I had a good view of his features in his own rear-view mirror. The man did not move a muscle, not even to acknowledge the presence of a human being gazing through his window. It was cold. It was telling.

How thick is the glass that separates our hearts?

I learned from a friend of mine to always try and make eye-contact, show appreciation and respect for the presence of another human being. It doesn't mean buying things from him. It means rolling down your window or simply smiling through it. Asking "How are you today? Hope your days goes well..."

We're so afraid of that eye-contact, because deep down we know Who's standing before us:

"O SON OF MAN! Deny not My servant should he ask anything from thee, for his face is My face; be then abashed before Me."

Leilajoon, thank you for this lovely reminder to rise to nobler heights of acknowledging one another!

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