I Like to Watch

August 13, 2004

[watching]Last night at Hometown Buffet, Kay took the kids home so I could stay and visit with her brother-in-law, who had joined us late in our meal. I was full, so whenever he got up to get food, I engaged in an enjoyable pastime: people-watching. But have you ever done it as a prayer? “God,” I prayed, “give me a glimpse into their lives.” This is what I saw:

I saw at the table in front of me, an elderly lady. She wore a tight cap; I could not see any hair on her head. Cancer patient, I thought. The cap’s color was chosen to match her jacket. She wore a wedding ring. An elderly man returned with his food, and her face lit up in a bright smile. She was loved, and in love, and she was beautiful. And God, God was watching, and he loved her.

I saw at the table to the left, a pretty girl who did not look happy, and an older man. A teenager and her father. They sat on opposite sides of the table, but did so at a diagonal so they wouldn’t have to face each other. They didn’t say a thing. Well, not until the girl said she was ready to go and stood up, and her dad told her to siddown, which she did with a thump and a frown. Neither seemed to feel loved, nor loving. But God, God was watching, and he loved them both.

I looked around the room in amazement as I realized that God’s love for each person I saw was immense and real. I know what it is to feel God’s love, but it was something else to get just a taste of it for all the people around me. I realized that God’s love is much, much bigger than I know.

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

3 responses to I Like to Watch

  1. I like to people watch too, Jon. I like the idea of looking at others in prayer.
    In the past I used to look at people and criticize. Now I can look with more compassion.
    I enjoyed reading your observations and getting a glimpse of God’s love. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I had never considered people-watching as a prayer. What a wonderful idea! I will try this the next time I do.
    Should work well with my current effort to “pray continuously”.

  3. One of my favorite things to do is get on the light rail and people-watch. I can’t think of how many interesting wonderings I’ve had thanks to the amazing people that you can encounter every day.