When We Meet On the Street

 

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Photo cc by Albert Hugo Rojas

 

 

As I sit in my car and wait for my 8 year old daughter to get out of school, I find myself reflecting on an extra TED Talk I watched yesterday ( FYI- I have become slightly addicted to these TED Talks). This particular TED Talk was given by a woman named Kio Stark & was about why we should talk to strangers. Sounds a little counter-intuitive, right?? I think it’s worth the 11 or 12 minutes viewing time to find out if your perspective may change from that of “Stranger Danger” to one of “Love one another”.

While spending time studying Colossians Chapter 2 for my ILP I was reminded that love is an action not just an emotion. It is how we treat others, not just what we say. Of course this comes natural (at least most of the time) when it comes to our family, friends, or loved ones, but what about the man or woman walking toward us on the sidewalk or the cashier at the shopping mall, or even the homeless man standing on the corner begging for food or money?

There has been for years now a movement towards world peace & unity, towards love for our fellow human being so why do we struggle to make a connection with people we don’t know that we make daily with our loved ones? How will the world ever come to a place of peace and acceptance if we struggle just to have a short conversation with a stranger from time to time? I love that Stark talks about how sometimes we may be more inclined to share something personal with a stranger than someone we talk to on a regular basis. She sells this whole idea effectively as something that can benefit us individually but also as a society. My personal thought is to think of it on another level: Imagine that stranger is living with depression or going through a terrible time and they’re just hoping that someone, anyone will notice them and actually engage them in a meaningful conversation. I recently heard a true story similar to this situation in a mental health training class I took. The young man involved was severely depressed and had no idea why but every day he considered ending his own life until one day, he got on a bus and headed to a bridge. His plan was to jump off of this bridge but along the way, he hoped and prayed that just one person would speak to him and ask him if he was okay or just make small talk with him. If this were to happen, he vowed to himself that he would not jump off of that bridge. Sadly, no one spoke to the young man and he did jump off of that bridge. However, that young man did live to tell his story to others. Now, what if you had been one of those strangers on the bus with him that fateful day? What if you could impact a complete stranger’s life THAT drastically just by speaking to them? I’m not suggesting that we hold ourselves responsible for other’s mental health but how hard is it really to just make eye contact, smile, and start up a conversation?

Love is a verb. It is an action that can be carried out by a hug, a handshake, a kind gesture, or even…a conversation with a stranger.

 

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9 thoughts on “When We Meet On the Street

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  1. I love this post and the TED Talk! I’ve always believed that I might not be able to change the world, but by smiling and being kind to others, maybe I could help change their view on the world. Love and unity are something I’m very passionate and love to learn more about. This is such a great topic and I can’t wait to read about your ILP.

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    1. Thank you! I am very passionate about how we should treat others. My mottos is “Love all, serve all, create no sorrow” & I fail but I try to live this way. This TED talk brought an entirely new perspective to the whole idea.

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  2. This is such a great post! It caught my attention right away! Very well written and some very good points to it. Your topic hits very close to home. As it says in the Bible: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Who is our neighbor? Everyone, the person serving your lunch, the homeless man in the corner, and the young man who cut you off while in a hurry to get to work. While reading your post, I got so caught up in your story and everything that I forgot to pick out specific things to comment on because all of your thoughts were so true and pure. Very great read! Thank you!

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  3. What a great, eye and heart opening, post! I hold true to my belief of always greeting someone with a smile and being cordial, you never know how it will impact someone’s day. That being said, there have been times where I have looked the other way. These specific stories always make people think twice, they say they are going to make a difference, but they rarely stick to it. It makes me hurt, to see all the sadness, but then I realize that I can make a difference. When I think about greeting someone with a smile, a “hi”, and some small talk, I notice that when I have carried out those actions even my day has become better. It really brings you full circle, doesn’t it?

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    1. Yes, it does. None of us are perfect and I think every once in awhile it is okay for us to not want to talk to that stranger on the street but if we did take that extra step more often, wouldn’t our world be a much better place?

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  4. This is a wonderful post! It’s funny how our minds work sometimes. I am always, always kind to strangers I must interact with like cashiers, waiters, you name it. I also am kind to other strangers who talk to me first. One of my favorite feelings is going somewhere and having someone strike up a friendly conversation with me, like when we’re waiting in line for food. However, I rarely ever am the first person to speak. I’m not shy, but I consider myself an introvert. I don’t often seek human interaction with someone I don’t know. But this post makes a great case for why I should, and I appreciate that. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am the same way, Jessica, because I always feel awkward about speaking to strangers. I am trying to work on this, though & I would love to see others working towards being more friendly to one naother.

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  5. Really great thoughts here. Oh my, we have certainly overdone the “stranger danger” warnings, haven’t we. I think it’s time to stop the fear and give into friendliness (realizing that most abuse statistically happens by people we know very well). Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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