Our dog Tucker has a funny habit. If he’s outside and wants to come in, he will stand right next to the chain-linked fence that looks out across the front yard and starts barking. Unlike his “real” bark, it’s a short, high-pitched (read annoying) bark.
He knows that I will come to the window to see if there is someone walking by. When it’s obvious there is no real threat to life and limb, he looks at me as if to say, “Just kidding. But as long as you’re here, you might as well let me in!”
If I ignore him, he will wait a few minutes and then jump up and look (with a very pathetic expression) into the window. That face always gets to me! Somehow, I always feel sorry for him when
he’s outside looking in…
I get it. He doesn’t like being outside alone and just wants to be with his family!
We spent the day eating a scrumptious meal, roaming in and out of the quaint shops and enjoying the thousands of lights that decorated the expansive indoor garden area.
As evening approached, we made our way to an elegant sitting area. A pianist was playing Christmas carols at the grand piano while groups of people milled about, taking pictures at one of the many Christmas trees and on the massive, ornately decorated staircase. We settled in near the fire and began to join in on the singing. It had begun to snow outside.
It was a perfect moment.
And then I saw something. Something that seemed, well,
out of place…
I noticed a woman standing, facing the window with her back to me. I saw her wipe her face. “That’s nothing extraordinary,” I thought to myself, “she could be brushing the hair off out of her eyes.” I continued to watch. Again, her hand came up to her cheek and slid across her face. I knew when she began to look in her purse (for a Kleenex), she was crying.
I was struck by the deep dichotomy… joy and pain existing in the same place, at the same moment in time. Friends and family gathered together and one standing alone.
I quickly grabbed a little package of Kleenex out of my purse and as I approached her from behind, I slipped them into her hand. She quietly thanked me. I stood there for just a moment, gently rubbing her back as I said a silent prayer. I turned and went back to my chair. When I looked up, she was gone.
Perhaps she had stood nearby, hoping to be able to join in, hoping to be a part of the celebration. But something stronger was tugging at her heart…or breaking it.
LIFE can be like that–We are moving along and all of the sudden something happens that causes us to feel like we are suddenly
on the outside looking in.
It’s so tempting to compare. It’s so normal to want something different. To belong. To want in.
Sometimes we unwittingly keep people “out”. Out of the loop, out of the conversation, out of reach…just teetering on the edge, but not in. We “tweet” and hashtag# and Facebook our comings and goings with “friends”. We sit in the same spot in church every week because that’s where our friends sit.
We rush during errands and forget to LOOK into people’s faces and make eye contact.
Sometimes simply a smile or a cup of coffee…or a Kleenex…will let them in.
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