Sunday, November 15, 2009

Who Are You Sitting Next To?

Since we moved, my family has been living in a motel room. We've received aid from a local food pantry and we are receiving food stamps. I rejoice that God is taking care of our needs when I'm not depressed over our situation.

Whenever I go to the food pantry, I'm struck by the contrast of people waiting in line to receive food and the local breakfast bistro located next door. I usually see nicely dressed, smiling people at this bistro and, from what I hear, the place has good food.

One day I happened to overhear a conversation between a cute, nicely dressed mom with her children and another person. She mentioned that she and her husband were trying for another child. It's ironic that she was having this conversation next to a place where people come who wouldn't be able to feed their children if it wasn't for this ministry. Women who are pregnant and are contemplating abortion because they just don't know how they are going to provide for another mouth or how they can't take time off from work to recover from the pregnancy. I thought about how close each one of us is, but for the grace of God, to a financial or health-related crisis. All it takes is a job loss, an accident, or a terminal diagnosis, and life as we know it has changed forever. Don't get me wrong, I don't generally worry about these things or dwell on them. I'm not a pessimist but this occasion just made me do a little perspective thinking.

My question to you today is "Who are you sitting or standing next to today?" If you're at the airport, the doctor's office, the grocery store, or the post office, think about the person in front of you or behind you. Is it a victim of domestic violence, too afraid to leave the toxic relationship for fear the perpetrator will find her and her children and kill them? Is it someone who has been unemployed for months and is facing bankruptcy and depression? Perhaps you are sitting next to someone who just received a terminal diagnosis or whose child was the unfortunate recipient. Let these thoughts move you to acts of compassion the next time you are out and about. You never know who you might be sitting next to.


  1. I often talk to that person next time, and I find out incredible things. Sometimes, I can even help. Thanks for the reminder to look around us.

  2. I wrote a post about this once. So at at church I belonged to, I started a women's group based on that theory because if you don't know the person sitting next to you, you won't know their needs to help. we have been unemplyed now for three years this month. People think we are doing well but as I stand in the lines in the grocery stores or where ever there are days I wanted someone to turn around and see me and offer to listen as I shared my concerns. The world can be lonely when we are going through tough times. It is so important to reach out all around us. Thank you for this post and I pray God takes care of you as well as he has us as we go through this time.