…That’s the sentence that gets stuck in my head lately while I’ve been asking God what I’m about. Dusting for the fingerprints of God, specifically by listening to and telling the extraordinary stories of His work in ordinary people.
This is an example of the things that get me excited. I’m an introvert. I hate this kind of stuff. But I love it. There’s a tiny piece of me that occasionally pushes through the momentary static shock of fear and makes me strike up a conversation with the mom ahead of me in line at the grocery store –maybe it started when I was in Texas, buying groceries for the first time to fill my new empty kitchen, and the cashier asked me how I was doing –and she expected an actual response. Southern hospitality, maybe, but it was a nice change. It got my attention.
And then you have the scruffy grey-bearded guy in fatigues that noticed my sweatshirt at Walmart the other day and started a conversation about college and life in the middle of the dairy aisle. Part of me was refreshed by the fact that people still exist that see other random strangers and want to connect –and part of me was a little worried he’d follow me out to my car. Honestly. That’s what I was thinking, o me, the wife of a gregarious long-haired bearded dude who I’m sure has freaked out quite a few people in his time.
Everybody’s got a story. Everyone. Even the ones who seem boring on the outside. A few years ago, there was a recurring feature on a news program with a guy who would throw a pushpin randomly on a map of America, travel there, find a phone book, open it to a random page, and call the first person his finger landed on.
He’d introduce himself, and wind himself into a conversation with the person. And each one had a fascinating story. Every one. Editing? Maybe, but it stuck with me. All these people in “traffic” that we yell at on the freeway? That person and their twenty-six items who jumped in front of you and your five items in the express lane at the grocery store? They all have a story.
Think of the person who has been the biggest influence on your life. I’d be willing to bet that they’re not famous, in the Kardashian sense of the word.
In my observation, the people who influence lives most positively, most deeply, and most profoundly do it in small circles.
Want to change the world? Start with your own neighborhood, your own backyard. And stay there. Find someone to listen to, walk alongside, and love. That’s how you change the world.