Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. (Romans 12:10)
The other day I found this picture and the quote below from Fred Rogers on an internet site, Linked In. It struck me, and inspired me and made me really stop and think.
“If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” ~ Fred Rogers
Take a minute and read that again. I stopped and thought about it, too. My response to this article was that we rarely get those glimpses of how we are impacting others. We oftentimes don’t know, because we don’t see the fruit of our labors in the immediate. I work in the field of education, so this is particularly true for teachers, counselors and administrators.
About a year ago, I was at a conference and was in line to speak with the author of a book. I stepped out of line to get a copy for her signature, and unfortunately, they had just run out. I decided to return to the line to chat with the author and let her know how much her speech had impacted me anyway – book or no book. I mentioned this to the person in front of me in line. Suddenly, the person in front of me gushed! She recognized me from at least 15 years prior, when I was her high school counselor. For the remainder of the conference we ate together, chatted and caught up. And she continued to remind me of all the things I did for her that impacted her and made her the person she is today. She is a very successful business woman.
The take away – I got to see the impact I had on a teenager so many years ago; how important the things I said were to that person. I had no idea. The interaction we had that day had a profound impact on me, offering me a glimpse of how important I was to her then and even now.
All this to say, I believe the scriptures and the quote from Fred Rogers underscores many facets of human interaction. Perspective is the first take away for me. Many times we don’t “see” the impact we are making on others in real time. When we do catch these glimpses, it is important to note them. Moreover, it is important to have faith that we are having an impact, because if we could “see” in real time the impact we are having, we would be amazed, humbled and even shocked.
This highlights my second take away, the fact that each and every human interaction is holy, in a way. The photo that I have posted with this blog, is so impactful because oftentimes it is hard to put into words what we sense, what we feel - or even the intangible, unreachable or inexpressible things that are evoked when we read and ponder these words. There is a little bit of God in each one of us, which I believe recognizes God in others.
In addition, it’s so important to be fully present in each human interaction, and to do no harm to others. And more importantly, conveying brotherly love to both self and others – God’s love - in every interaction becomes key. After all, as born again Christians we are Ambassadors for Christ in this world, are we not?
Finally, the above scripture and quote remind me how important we are to God. I believe it is God in us that recognizes this holiness, the importance of love being primary in every human contact. God would not be within us if we had not invited Him there. And He is there because He first loved us. He knocked on the door of our hearts, telling us how important we are to Him – who we are to Him - even before we were saved. (Romans 5:8)
So pass it on. Move into human encounters in a way that recognizes, sees, believes and understands the sanctity and beauty in the other human being. And do so with kindness and affection that conveys brotherly love.
Love really does make the world go ‘round.