Unnoticed:  Compassion

 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.” Matthew 25:42

The other day I was on a conference call. I spoke up and no one acknowledged me. I raised my virtual hand but no one noticed me. I sent emails to those on the call but no one noticed me. I sent text messages to the team but no one noticed me. The attendees even talked about me but no one noticed me.  It was not a good feeling being unnoticed. I began to think about how it feels to go unnoticed in life. It was not an enjoyable thought, I can tell you!

I wonder how often in life do we walk past people without really noticing them. We walk past the quiet silver haired lady fumbling with her car keys in the parking lot. We never notice the tear on the check of man in the grocery store check-out line.  We don’t even notice when someone you greet doesn’t respond positively. We do not notice the hurting people that are everywhere. They are hoping for someone to notice, if only for a minute.

I want to issue a “Notice Challenge” to each of us. Let’s stop staring at our phones, looking at the reports, thinking about something elsewhere. Let’s be “trained noticers” who look for people who are hurting, lonely, or in need of compassion. Let’s notice them even if no one else does.

Here is what you should do once you noticed them. You can use the 10:5:2 rule as a guide. At 10 feet smile and make eye contact. At 5 feet speak to them. At 2 feet make physical contact with a handshake or touch their shoulder or pat their upper back.

You will be amazed what your noticing of them will do. It will make them feel valued and will often make their day! Give it a try and be a “Trained Noticer!”

Charles Thornburg
Chaplain Development Director



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