my mind used to go crazy, you see – and not the ‘i’m going to hurt myself or anyone else' kind of crazy – but the isolated kind; no matter how many people i had in my life, how many people told me they loved me, or showed me, i made myself believe that i was alone, and because of that, i projected this particular thought pattern into all of my relationships. [we project what we believe].
so this is why i feel the 'need' to say hello to anyone who makes eye contact with me each day. it's my way of saying, "i see you".
we, north americans, live in a very 'image based' culture. we waste so much time searching for the right instagram filters [i know i'm not the only one] or picking out the right outfit. we spend money upgrading a phone we were happy with last week when there wasn't a newer model, or maxing out our credit to make sure we have the biggest house on the block or the best car in the driveway, and, on a smaller scale, we put a smile on our face when we're falling apart on the inside. whether you resonate with any of these examples or not, you fall into the image trap somewhere. we all do.
i was strolling through toronto this morning when i stopped to say hey to a fella sitting on the cold sidewalk. we didn't exchange much more than a few smiles and a few "have a great day"s, but we acknowledged each other, and sometimes, that's all one needs. sometimes, acknowledging a fellow human being is enough.
people often ask me why i have such a heart for the marginalized, and really, my answer is simple, and twofold: 1) because God does, and 2) because i can relate on a certain level. i do not, for the life of me, understand what it's like to lay my head down at night on a heating vent, or even a mat, nor do i know what it's like to sit on a cold and brittle sidewalk and rely on people's leftover change, but i do understand - whether my my mind played tricks on me at times or not - what it's like to feel overlooked and isolated.
our stories [what we go through and the pain we feel] connect to more people than we realize. how does your story connect with the people in your life? your family? coworkers? the strangers you pass each day? we may not get to have a heart to heart with everyone [who has time for that?], but we can, at the very least, take our eyes off of our phone, make eye contact, and say hey to each other once in a while.
i see you.