There are so many people that I pass. Usually I’m analyzing them, doing something on my phone, or trying my darndest to accelerate time so I can be home.
In short, I spend way too much time ignoring people.
And it bothers me.
I actually care about people. A lot. And that’s compounded knowing that God cares about all of these people as well. So something I’ve been doing for a while (although I haven’t written it down) is… wait for it… talk to people! Egad! Revolutionary! Conversation is an odd little matrix of landmine opportunities, but I do my best.
Fortunately, I’ve learned something.
Everybody has a story! And they [usually] like to share it. They love sharing about themselves, and their lives… most importantly they love to feel heard. Interested in with no strings attached. So I’ve decided to start sharing these stories with you all. Little windows into the soul dwellings of people I encounter. Names will either be omitted entirely, or made up for fun.
But all the stories are true. (ha, this sounds like a Law&Order opening)
This won’t be weekly, but the BTS series will wind its way through all future posts. I hope you enjoy this first installment. 🙂
I was posted at the DMV for my job this past week.
So many people wandering through. So many conversational snippets, smells, smiles, and frustrated exhales. And then there’s me. Just trying to do my job. Keep the peace. Answering questions from the patrons about forms and lines and whatnot. Directing traffic as necessary, when the driving test lines got backed up.
Summertime in Cali though, so I stayed inside with the AC as much as possible. Lol
It was around 3pm when this particular lady, “Mrs. Niyuson” engaged in conversation with me. It began, as most talks at the DMV do for me, with her inquiring about a form. As we continued our business exchange, I fought down my impulse to exit the conversation as quickly as possible, and instead remained opened for authentic conversation.
And sure enough it came.
She segued into a little laugh as she told me she was only there because her husband had just bought her a new BMW and they were adding him to the title. I expressed my amazement, but in my head I was like “Uh, are yall hiring?” Lol Then she whispered conspiratorially that he himself had a Maserati. Somewhere in there I learned that they also had an acura, and that she was selling her old BMW for 2 grand.
I tried so very hard not to let my jaw drop. Instead I asked what they did.
She told me that both of them were retired. I nodded, still curious though, and asked what he used to do. Turns out he used to be a doctor in a federal prison. Nuts right? Then she said that she had also just retired (just turned 50 I believe). Her former job was an engineer for the armed forces. What???
Aside from being cool, that also explained the money. Lol
Then she said that the reason they’d both been able to retire so early (he also had retired around 50) is because they had saved like crazy. Every check they saved a portion (I imagine their “portions” were pretty hefty, given their former jobs). Then she urged me to do the same thing. She said to save something off of every check and after years, I’d find that I had quite a sizable amount saved.
I appreciated it. It was quite inspiring.
And convicting, since I’d fallen off on my consistent saving. Lol
And that was that!
We politely ended the conversation as she went to go join her husband in line.
It was just a moment. Just a glimpse. I’ll probably never see her again. But in that moment a human connection was formed. The monotony of cell phones, daydreaming, and escaping work to get home was temporarily broken by something of substance. I was grateful. Glad that I was able to get out of my own way. Like I said before… I care about people. Want to inspire, encourage, and empower people.
I make a lie out of my own ambitions, if all I do is ignore people.
It was a nice moment.
Thanks for reading the first episode of Beneath The Surface!
Til next time!