"Seeing" People

For a long time now, I’ve tried to see people. By “see” people, I don’t mean notice. I mean, really listen to their story to hear their emotion so that I can respond to it. That’s what we are here for, right? One another? Superheroes don’t exist because we do. We have a special power to “save the day” sometimes, but we have to listen and be keen to the spirit of a person. I never thought about this until a few years ago. I’ll never forget the scenario. A group of us were on our way back from a trip. We were all a bunch of “good” people having just spent a week serving others and getting our hands dirty. We sat tired and hungry in a restaurant. We had great service. We had a great waitress who chatted with us for a bit. She talked of her twins at home. As we were about to leave, one friend asked if we could all write in a card to her [BTW, who carries notecards on them like a swiss army knife or chap stick?!]. We agreed in our confusion. What some of us didn’t “see” was this one friend asking questions to the waitress. We didn’t read between the lines in her answers. Our friend had a “hunch” and we all followed it. We wrote in and sealed the card and placed it with our bill. What happened next was a moment that has changed my daily life and prayer life to this day. The waitress was visibly overwhelmed with gratitude and shock. She added that she had been upset all day before coming to work. It was the anniversary of her mother’s death.

On a almost-daily basis my prayers include “Help me see people. Help me to hear the voice that cries out for that kind word, encouragement, or compliment. Help me hear a voice that desires to be celebrated. Give me the wisdom in responding.”

I love my church because each time something is on my heart, in an eerily cool way, it comes up as a theme. How to bless people (it’s really not that hard, y’all) has been a tool with which we have been equipped. It’s the easiest most powerful gift we possess.

Recently, I was the recipient of one of the greatest blessings I’ve known. I’m so thankful this woman went with her “gut.” It may have been the worst day I’ve known. I can’t think of another day that has hit me this hard. I got to work and then left 5 minutes later as a crumpled mess. I needed to be home to ride out the emotion. I decided to go to my “happy place” which is a Christian-owned spa that I love supporting (you know me and my love for mom & pop). Each time I go, the service and hospitality are both impeccable. My body just wanted to lie in the darkness, get some TLC, and listen to the old hymns by piano playing overhead. It’s a great place for me to be stripped (literally) to focus, process, and pray. I composed myself long enough to make the phonecall for an appointment. I was doubtful that any appointments were open as is usually the case last minute. I needed it NOW, not later this afternoon. I put on my fake cheery voice and dialed. Little did I know, a blessing (and miracle) were waiting on the other end of the line. I had no idea that I was about to get a big reminder from God that said “I’ve got this/you.”

Our phone conversation went like this:

Me: Do you have any appointments available today? Male receptionist: Let me put you on hold for a moment. [weird, they have never put me on hold] sure. Woman receptionist: Hello! This is XXX. You want to come in today? [cheeriest. voice. ever] Me: Yes. What time do you have?

Woman: 2. Me: Great! [my "fake it til you make it" voice] Woman: You know what? Something in your voice tells me that you need to come in ASAP. Let me check again.

Me: Ok. [don’t cry...don’t cry...don’t cry…] Woman: How is 11:30? [ok, it’s 10:15 now] It is with the therapist you usually have. Me: Perfect. Woman: Have you ever tried our hydrotherapy baths? [at this point, I’m annoyed. I’m in NO mood for “up selling” but my dream has always been one of these baths but I’m too stingy to spend the money on top of a massage] Me: No, I haven’t. No thanks. Woman: How about this? Would it be okay with you if I book that for you prior to your massage and it be complimentary? I’d love to do that for you today. Me: Sure! [keep it together…..] Woman: Ok, can you come right now?

Wow! I’m not usually the recipient of such kindness. I was speechless. I ran out the door and to the spa. When I walked in, they immediately said “Hi Danielle.” They knew it was me. Sometimes, the best thing is someone saying your name because they know you. They see your identity. [Ok, so what that they knew me by blood shot eyes?!] I thanked the woman for her kindness. She just said, “That is why I’m here today. I could tell by your voice that you were sad” Now, I’ve never spoken to her or seen her. I did not recognize her at all. She walked me back even though I knew the way and the routine. She spent extra time with me, when it was unnecessary.  The bath was literally my idea of Heaven. It was detoxifying physically, emotionally and spiritually. I could write a whole post about the bath experience. It reached my core.

Later that afternoon, the spa called, which is something that they have NEVER done before. The guy told me that the person who booked my appointment was the owner and that she asked him to call to check on me. Again, a reminder. That day, she was not just a “spa owner.” She used what she had in her “tool box” to speak right down to the soul. It completely changed my day and helped me turn my outlook on some things around.

I believe fully that the Georgia school incident could have turned out differently if it had not been for the office staff “seeing” the shooter. I listened to the full 10-minute 911 call in tears. I could feel her courage. I could feel her love for life and people in the way she spoke to him. I know she was dying inside but she continued on and spoke out what he needed to hear.

See someone today. Act on a hunch. What’s the worst that can happen? Everyone could use a kind word. Show someone “the way” and spend more time with them even though they already know. Sometimes its the company, not the routine, that speaks.

Oh yeah...who carries notecards on them like a swiss army knife or chap stick? I DO!

About the Author: danielleDanielle is a multi-faceted Jesus follower, Southern Belle, wine drinker, and foodie.  She enjoys the finer things in life such as board games, purging and organizing, cooking, blogging, conversation, and recycling to save money for a future adoption. She has a Master’s Degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences and is currently pursuing graduate courses to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She has a heart for missions and has travelled to and served in South Africa for the past six years. Hailing from Mississippi, she enjoys immersing herself in new cultures even when uncomfortable in her current state of California. After years, of “troubleshooting singleness,” she is pursuing a fiance visa for the love of her life that she met while serving in South Africa. She welcomes emails at DanielleSJones@gmail.com. You can read more about her adoption process or thoughts here.