Think of all the people you will never meet, the voices you will never hear. Think of a life you’ll never touch, a hand you’ll never hold, and a smile you’ll never see. Someone that could have been your best friend or an accountability partner to walk through life with. They could have saved you or you could’ve saved them. You pass by 15, 20 or maybe 30 people or more just walking to class. You don’t know their name, where they are from, what they’ve been through or where they’re going. You don’t take that step out of your way to make them a part of your life.
You may already have an incredible group of people you surround yourself with and you think that’s all you need. You may think that if someone was supposed to be in your life God would make that happen. I am guilty of it, you’re guilty of it and, let’s be honest, most people are guilty of it. We stay in our bubble, our comfort zone, the same people, the same routine, day after day.
We will not know the role people could have in our lives if we don’t say hello.
It is something we all need to work on. Saying hello to a stranger or sitting with someone new at a meal could turn into something much more.
I still clearly remember my first day going to work at a café. I was early for my shift and a girl was sitting alone at a table reading. I went over, asked if I could sit and introduced myself to her and she turned out to be a co-worker. She soon became one of the most important people in my life and I thank God every day that He crossed our paths.
That person you meet could teach you a life lesson you would never know if you don’t take the time to meet them. They could be the doorway to bringing someone new and important into your life. They could help you see things in yourself you may have never seen before. However, it isn’t always going to be that great. You could take a chance and meet someone new, make him or her a part of your life, only to be left broken and hurt. They could be someone that tears you down, drains you, leaves you angry and confused and wishing you had never met.
Then you may meet someone, let them in and have them become an important person only to have them taken away, never to see their smile or hear their voice again. In the end you are left hurt and broken just wanting the pain to go away.
These are people you would have rather just walked past; saying hello to them was a wasted breath. Without them you wouldn’t have this pain, this brokenness or this regret.
We all have people in our life we wished would have kept on walking by.
But in the end they make you stronger. You grow through trials and tribulations; you heal from the pain and learn more about yourself than you would have. In the Bible, God spoke to Moses through a burning bush; not a typical conversation we’d expect in our generation. However, Moses saw that bush, knew it had to have a purpose, and in the end it changed his life.
Rob Bell, film-maker of Nooma videos, author of “Velvet Elvis”, and well-known pastor, once said that every day we walk past burning bushes but are too consumed by our own thoughts and what is going on in the world to notice them, to notice a key element right in front of our eyes that could change the course of our future or who we are.
Don’t let people you are unfamiliar with become an unseen burning bush just because you are comfortable with those already in your life. Take a chance to bring someone new into your life. You’ll never know how much of an impact you can have in their life, or what impact they could have in yours.
What do you gain from the same? That answer could be that you gain a lot. You could gain a deeper stronger relationship, more clarity or even an easier life. But what could you gain from the new and unexpected? You could gain a lifetime full of experiences you may never regret, whether they make you happier then you ever were, or bring you down to rock bottom.
I am not saying throw aside what you have right now; keep those people in your life, love them and show them you care, just don’t let them be the only ones you let in.
You are reading this article right now, who is sitting next to you? Do you know them? When you fold up this paper and put it in your bag and begin to walk to your room I challenge to say hello to a person you do not know. If you only know my name from this article, next time you see me say hi. Take a chance, it may go along way. Whatever the circumstance, whoever the person, they were placed in your life for a reason. They walked past you everyday for a reason. They have an open seat next to them for a reason. You don’t know their name for a single reason: to learn it.
Graphic art by Eva Kiviranta
Williamson is a freshman majoring in journalism and mass communication. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.