Having dinner on Friday, we were seated near a table of what appeared to be a husband, wife, and three kids. The youngest was probably around thirteen or fourteen but I didn’t recognize him as one of my former students. Father was one of those people who had a familiar face. While we’ve been in New Mexico almost three years, we don’t have this person as one of our contacts.
The point I’m making is that he had a face that struck me as kind, friendly, and someone whom I could have known during my lifetime. It also occurs to me that having completed quite a few decades, I’ve stored enough faces in my experience data base that they have created numerous positive memories.
When we consider this to be something wholly positive, it enhances life and the day-to-day events that it contains. I don’t know this man but he reminded me of someone who was a person I liked. Maybe we all have the opportunity to view others the same way, whether it is in school, at work, in the grocery store, or on the road. In other words, I don’t know you but you look enough like someone I did for me to extend some kindness toward you.
It doesn’t take much work to see how this could impact our lives in all sorts of situations. It requires a little bit of work but it looks like this: I walk into a crowded dental office and one or two or three people in the room look like people I have known some time in my life. After considering that, I have no trouble smiling at these people or extending some form of courtesy. One by one, we all have the occasion to improve the lives of others, simply by recalling someone from the past and associating this face with that one.
It may be that the people you see don’t remind you of anyone at all and I understand that as well. In those cases, imagine that the person you are encountering is someone’s wife or husband, sister or brother, mother or father, or aunt and uncle. Life generally gets easier and more comfortable when we stop seeing everyone as strangers and begin seeing them as individuals with lives as important as ours. Shalom.