When I was younger, I recall a pastor saying that one of the reasons we go to church is not for yourself--- it’s for the people who look forward to seeing you there. It was intriguing to me, to contemplate the impact we may have on the lives of people we aren’t necessarily tracking ourselves.
Beyond Sunday morning, who counts on your presence? I enjoy the gleam of recognition in the eyes of my favorite server at Welch’s Ale House, and even the friendly greeting on Saturday morning Target/Starbucks runs when Sara has my beverage ready. I look for those familiar faces when I arrive. But this past week, another cool thing happened. Someone I did not know, had not met, recognized me in a place of business. He was pleasant and polite, but he was sure we had met before---though it was not ringing any bells in my memory. A few minutes later, he snapped his fingers. “I know where I know you!” he said. “Did you tell a story at the Trapdoor?” Well, actually, I had done that, about a year ago. This young man recognized me, remembered the story of my life I had shared, and let me know how much it connected with him.
I honestly can’t tell you how much this meant to me. While we all have stories, we don’t always share them. This was a powerful moment, hearing that’s something I had to share had made an impact to someone. I truly felt like this was a little gift, a small reminder that what we do and what we say matters. We may not know who’s listening. But speak confidently, knowing your story is meaningful and valuable and valid--- and bask in the gratitude when you get confirmation that your words fell on the ears they needed to find.