Like many desks in many offices, there is a chair that sits in front of mine. It’s a small wing-back, with slightly out-of-date (but not offensive) upholstery, and it’s not particularly comfortable.
However, it is rarely empty.
That chair seems to make people sit and linger. They start out waiting for their appointment with Kevin, then some come back afterward and sit for a while longer. They’ll walk past the doorway and stop to sit for a few minutes to say hello, and then nine times out of ten, they’ll find themselves talking about their families, their work and dreams, their failures and triumphs.
There’s just something about that chair.
We spend an awful lot of time closed off in our society today, whether it’s behind a computer, or walls we’ve constructed ourselves to keep people out. Most of the time we just like to keep our heads down, and do what we have to do to get through a day. We don’t like to get involved because it could come back to bite us, so we stare straight ahead, or head-down toward our phones and avoid eye contact.
But, you know, there’s a little something that dies inside when we make this our common practice. Human interaction is to our souls like Miracle-Gro is to our plants. We can get along without it, but we are less developed a person, our lives less vibrant. We start to wither sooner, instead of blooming to the very end of our season.
Perhaps we all need to go through each day acting as if we have an empty chair sitting across from us. Maybe we should make a practice of looking up and catching a person’s eye, inviting them to sit for a while, and daring to get involved.
I mean, what’s the worst that could happen?
Well, true, you might not get much work done, but you’d feel your heart expanding like a Grinch at Christmas. And who KNOWS what would happen if you reupholstered?
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15 ESV
“So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 MSG
“Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue…” James 1:19 MSG