Realationships with others is one of several things that keeps me going. There are few things that I love more than meeting new people and getting to know their story. Often times I embarrass my older sister because I tend to start conversations with others that I have never talked to when I am in the most random places (the mall, Starbucks, farmer’s market, art shows, etc.).
My natural inclination towards others is the following, “If I see someone who looks lonely or down, I want to go talk to them so they aren’t sitting alone anymore!” — or at least something like that.
Just last week I was at a book store a few hours after the Sabbath ended and there was a Jewish male (I could tell immediately because he was wearing a kippah and tallits) and I desperately wanted to strike a conversation with him and ask him if he goes to a synagogue and if he didn’t I wanted to politely invite him to my family’s *messianic* synagogue. But I didn’t want to scare him off so this time I let the poor man peacefully shop at the book store…this time.
If you read the title of this article, you know where I am going with this. Someone who is very special in my life is the one who inspired this blog post. A elderly man in my life is a perfect example of making everybody he meets feel like a somebody.
I watch him interact with those who go to his church. He cannot hear the sermon when the paster is preaching; some would say just to stay at home and watch a sermon on television and turn it up so that he can hear it but he still goes to church mainly to interact with his congregation.
I have never attended a Sunday church for longer than a couple of weeks at a time but I have found that many churches have a brief social time between Sunday school and the worship service. Usually during this time they serve coffee or refreshments. At this time, the elderly man whom I look up to and love dearly uses it to minister to others by making them feel special. He knows almost everyone by first name and gives many of them a genuine hug. At least when I’ve visited he’s usually one of the last to walk into the sanctuary because he is busy building relationships with those in his church. This gentleman makes many feel like he is their grandfather or child because he is amazing at making others around him feel special. Everyone at the church knows him, and knows him by his genuine love for others.
I strive to emulate this characteristic but often times I fail. G-d is still working on me in this way, but I encourage all to try to emulate this characteristic as well. I say this because others will not always remember you for having the coolest car, wearing the latest style, the trophies you brought home, or the promotion you got last week at work. Those around you will remember you by the personality you have. If you are snobby to others and are only concerned about youself that’s how they will remember you. If you love others, the way G-d has commanded all who follow Him to do, you will make a greater impact on their lives than you could even imagine.
Everyone around you is looking for a place to belong — help them find that place. I love you so much, Grandpa.