I walk my younger kids to the bus stop each morning, and I stand across the street a couple of houses away – far enough to give them some space but close enough that they know I’m watching in case they get any foolhardy ideas and forget how to behave. I start walking back to the house when the bus approaches their stop, and then I turn and wave as the bus drives past me.
We did this routine every morning for the first several days of school, and then one morning, one of the boys hollered to me as the bus drove up: “Mom! Don’t forget to wave!” Until that moment, I didn’t know if they even noticed that I had been waving to them. It was just something I did without really thinking about it, but it turned out to be something special.
It makes me wonder what else I do in my day-to-day life that seems mundane, “meh,” or just not noteworthy, but the people around me DO notice. The student worker at the front desk to my office notices whether or not I walk in with a smile on my face. The cafeteria worker notices when I say thank you for serving my plate. The person walking behind me notices when I hold the door open to let them into the building.
In Proverbs 18, the author spends the first nine verses talking about selfish people, the fools, the wicked, the guilty, etc. and then verse 10 takes a sharp turn and reminds us: “The Lord’s name is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and find refuge” (CEB). We have a chance everyday to be different from the foolhardy world around us. We can embody that safe place where people find hope.
I don’t want them to notice just some random polite lady, but I want them to notice Christ. I want them to notice that in the moment that our lives intersected, they mattered to me. We have such little time to make an impact in someone’s life. I don’t mean that to sound like a downer, but it’s true. Those people we pass on the sidewalk, the ones we see at work, or in class, or in church – we may not have another opportunity to be Jesus to them. The same is true in our families: One day, I won’t have any kids who still need to be walked to the bus stop. One day, they may not even want me to wave because it’s embarrassing in front of their friends.
I feel heavy-hearted with the weight of today. What have I done that mattered for eternity today? Because we aren’t promised tomorrow.