Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Get Engaged in 2015!

I'm the type of person others may describe as an extrovert. But, I hate labels, so lets continue.

Life happens in certain places that many people miss. There are gatherings of a certain sort that show what my husband calls, "the Human Gambit". It's a place that offers chances to speak to a stranger and they may or may not respond.

One of the places is a Motor Vehicle Department. People arrive expecting to be in a confrontation and are not in the best of moods.

Another place is an Emergency Room, where people arrive fearful of their health or of an injury and they approach with trepidation.

Yesterday, we visited such a place and got to practice the Human Gambit.

We arrived at the Social Security Administration office and we were fine. We knew what we were there for and what to do. We knew the routine, basically. So, we entered. And we sat. And we waited. And we waited. And we watched numbers.

More importantly, we watched people.

We saw young, old, rich, poorer, English and non-English speakers, Caregivers with their wards, mothers with babies, the vain and the humble, men and women with canes, with walkers, with wheelchairs, all races and nationalities and languages. In this environment, all are welcome!

The scariest thing was that everyone entering had to empty their pockets, let a guard peek through their bags, and walk through a metal detector. This is the world we live in now, Folks. Meanwhile, some knew the drill, many were confused about the directions, a couple were indignant about it, and one man turned around and left. The guards' personalities went from friendly to strictly business to rudely abrupt to obnoxious just in the time we sat there. I guess it's a job that can easily cause "burn-out" and no Customer Service Awards are coming their way, ever.

As with situations like airport delays, breakdowns of computers, power failures or long lines, there are those with a belief that they are 'above' such things and decide to, as it's said, 'pitch a fit'. One expensively dressed woman was threatened with being tossed out if she continued. She shut up.

I've developed a patience for waiting that would qualify me as a statue. I've simply accepted it as part of the process and use the time for other thoughts, tasks, and activities that do NOT include a 'smart' phone. Like the ad says, "The world is round. We'll get there!".

It's as easy as engaging with another with knowing smiles about what we just witnessed at the Security Desk or entrance. I amuse myself and share it with others. I've never claimed to be normal. Unfortunately, this is a trait I've passed on to my daughter. We've been known to be alone in a crowd and laugh out loud at something funny.

I am the crazy lady who will play Peek-a-Boo with the nearest baby until Mama takes it away. I'm the one enthusiastically turning around to face him as the man behind me tells me his story of being in the military. (Fit me for my halo now!) I'm the one who offers my seat when someone looks like they need it more than I do that day. I wasn't worried about whether, or if, the clerk would or could help us with our question. I did, however, realize there were those who may have been fearful of what would happen when their number was called. You could see it on their faces. Seeing the numbers on the board and hearing that female voice call and repeat, then call and repeat in Spanish, can cause anxiety. They check and recheck their ticket number. What if you don't hear her call? What if you stepped outside or went to the restroom and missed it? You've been there 2 hours, already. Will they make you start over? What if you don't have everything they need? What if there's something wrong and you are not eligible?

This is REAL life happening in these places. It's real situations that can affect real lives.

It isn't that all of us don't have lives. We do and we are consumed by them. It's that we, rarely, get to experience exposure to others' real lives and truly observe.

We are exposed to our own cars or a commuter bus or train with everyone doing the same thing. We see our coworkers, our friends, the lunch counter lady, and, likely, the same commuters going home. We enter our homes and we see our families.

But, what strangers did we speak to that weren't serving us in some way? With whom did we engage?

Opportunities like yesterday's come up infrequently.

These places I look to as opportunities to realize we are human and have very similar experiences, if not daily lives. We are able to connect psychically. We are able to connect and engage on a more personal level if we allow ourselves to. It's a great practice, actually. It humanizes each individual we encounter. It levels our emotions to one of trust and caring. This is translated by others and reflected back to us. Again, it can be as simple as a sincere smile.

Yes, you may try to engage with the one person who isn't in the mood, that day. But, guess what? It didn't kill you. And, it gave the other person something to think about.

Challenge? Reboot your encounters with the rest of humanity that you aren't close to, personally. In a waiting room somewhere? Observe. Smile. Chat. Show a genuine curiosity. Do it this year. Connect. SEE and speak to your fellow Earthly inhabitants! Engage!

Then go home and pray for that person. Pray for them and thank God for your problems which may not seem so large afterwards.

Get it?



Thank you so much for taking the time to leave your input. It is assured that all comments are read and considered. Have a blessed day!