As we pulled into traffic from the grocery store this afternoon, something off in the distance caught my eye. On the corner there was a figure. A man waiting for the light to change so he could cross. As we drew closer, I realized something was odd about how he looked. Once we were close enough, I saw that he was wearing a gas mask. No shirt, black long pants and heavy black work boots. Hair shaved, it was a scene from Mad Max.
The air quality here in Albany is fantastic. It is Summer and slightly warm. Beautiful weather for a young man to be out walking in shorts and a tank top. So, why the goth/post apocalyptic guise?
Not too long ago, I would have commented about his gear with disdain and critical language. But, I realized something. There is always a reason that that person will have for what they are doing. A good, legitimate reason.
As we drove on, my it dawned on me that he needed attention. As though he stood there, crying out through the muffling of the gas mask, “Notice me! Please, someone, notice me!” Not just because he wanted to be important, but because, just maybe, he’s never been important before.
Love is something not everyone feels. We might be privileged to have someone in our lives who loves us beyond compare. Maybe several someones. Maybe we have never felt un-important a day in our lives. Perhaps there has always been a mom or dad, brother or sister. A grandpa or grandma that loved us without question. Maybe, we’ve known the love of God for so long, it’s hard to accept what someone else is experiencing without it.
I am growing. I am learning that to see something that simply does not fit in doesn’t mean that person is choosing to stand out for no particular reason. A person that is “out there,” may just not understand that they really, truly are loved. That they really truly are important.
Maybe they just like the attention. Or, perchance, they need the attention? Possibly, we can learn to curb our critical, judgmental thought processes long enough to see what Jesus sees when we look at someone that seems strange to us?