Sunday, February 13, 2011

On making a practice of really seeing people


Having a baby somehow breaks down the common social boundaries in our culture and suddenly - everyone talks to you. It's impossible to go out of the apartment without nearly everyone we pass at least peeking into the stroller and oohing and ahhing, and at most just picking up conversations as if we've been friends for years.

This was charming for a day or so as I beamed with pride over my tiny little brand-new bundle. And then it got annoying. I wanted to finish my shopping, get my coffee, get out of church or just order my food rather than play chatty Cathy with everyone.

And then I realized what a beautiful thing it was that Judah broke down the usual walls between me and people I would never normally talk to. What an opportunity to see them, to love them, to engage with them. Whether it's the homeless woman on the street or the rich older woman in a Highland Park Starbucks or a visiting couple at church or a guy walking his dog on the running trail... I get to talk to them without awkwardness.

It's been a gift, this baby thing. I met two Chinese immigrants having a garage sale who gave me advice on mothering, chatted about Christianity in China, and sent me off with a toy that Judah now plays with every day.

Yesterday I talked to a homeless guy in a wheelchair, just chatting about life, family, what it's like to be a young mom.

This morning as we were seated outside the sanctuary at church because the nursery was full, we ended up having a real conversation with the couple next to us, who turned out to be new to the church having moved from right near where Isaac's family lives in Ohio.

I met a man this afternoon that was new in the city, sleeping on his brother's couch after leaving South Carolina because he'd divorced after less than a year of marriage. He was originally from Chicago, had lived in an apartment with a rooftop view of the Cubs stadium. Crazy that he now lives right next to my church.... and in Chicago also lived right next to my church. We chatted for ages about so many things.

I guess two things have struck me. People ... are sacred. And we so often pass each other like shadows. I'm grateful that having Judah gives me the opportunity to express love to people because almost everyone is willing to stop and say hi when you're holding a baby.

6 comments:

Melissa said...

i liked this post. i've been thinking about something similar recently, just there is no baby involved. =)

CM said...

Beautiful thoughts, and beautiful picture!

Erin said...

yes!! Being pregnant did that a little, too, but it's a little less awkward for me now that the baby steals the majority of the attention. Babies are perfect for getting to meet people you wouldn't otherwise have known.

Alysa said...

So beautiful, Kacie. It's precious to watch you flesh out this mothering thing. You're most certainly a natural at it. I love that you are on a journey of lifelong learning, of evaluating events and situations so that you're always growing. Think of all the wonderful people you have met because of stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing people ... I'm proud of you - i know that what you just described in your post was initially very difficult, for an introvert as yourself, but look at you go! Beautiful. I feel proud, like a big sister type of proud. Hugs.

Jaimie said...

That picture is darling.

Missy said...

I know I'm super late in reading this...I just realized today that I hadn't read your blog in a long time...I'm so glad we got to see you this weekend and hear about some of the things you've blogged about and more! Anyway, I wanted to comment on this post, because I have totally seen this and appreciated this as well. I feel like having Benji with me makes me safe and not weird to just be friendly with people. I have been loving it! Especially being in a new place and not knowing many people...