Galatians 6:2 (ESV)
Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Are the people around you happy, or are they struggling in some area of life? Maybe the real question is: Are you attentive enough that you would recognize the difference?
Let’s face it, we have pretty shallow relationships with most of the people we cross paths with every day. Sure, we’ll nod at co-workers in the hall and grunt a robotic “How’re you doing?” But our demeanor lets the person know we’re busy and would prefer a generic, “Fine, thank you,” rather than a genuine answer. It could be that someone near to us is having a rough go of it, but we’d never notice because we’re too wrapped up in our own world.
It reminds me of a poem I read from the 1950s, called “Not Waving, But Drowning.” It serves as a metaphor for people suffering alone in their pain. The stanzas describe a dying man, thrashing about in the surf, struggling to keep his head above water. But the people walking by on shore simply nod with a smile and continue on, confusing the man’s frantic struggle for survival with a friendly wave.
How many people do we run into each day who are fighting to keep their head above water in life? Are we simply nodding with a smile when what that person really needs is help carrying their burdens? Although we may not be able to solve all their problems, a simple word of encouragement is sometimes enough to lift the weight of the world off their shoulders. But to do that we have to be tuned in to the lives of the people around us and God’s leading. Be willing to stop, listen, and care.
Dear Lord, we ask that we would be sensitive to those around us. Help us to see those in need and help them and not just wave. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.