Do You See Me?
I have been doing live Instagram posts on a weekly basis. It has given me a broader audience of people who get to see me in person. It also gives me a chance to ask what kind of topics of encouragement they want to hear.
Last week I had coffee with someone who did reach out to me through my Instagram post. She wanted me to understand (and hopefully my followers too,) that as a single Christian woman how things looked from her point of view. She is single because she became a widow 5 years ago. She is a vibrant, beautiful, young woman. Her husband's passing was unexpected for his age. His illness came on fast. She found herself suddenly alone. So the one place she thought she could find comfort was in the church. And for the most part she did. She loves God and finds great comfort in her prayer life. She met some friends. She tried to join some groups. But here's the reality of being a widow or single person. There are times they feel quite lonely.
This is what they see; on any given Sunday. She walks in the church. People greet her and then go sit with their families. They don't invite her (or him) to sit with them. And by "them" I mean me also. They watch us with our families; laughing, sitting together, sharing notes. When service is over, they watch us walk out together and hear us asking each other where to eat brunch or spend the day. All the while, they sit there alone. All alone. And it makes them incredibly sad.
Now my friend is the first to point out, that she too could go up and start a conversation and ask to sit with them. They would certainly include her. They would love to invite her along for their day. But it's hard. Imagine having the comfort of your family ripped away, and now you have to learn to maneuver your way around people as a single person.
So as we sat and talked, I asked my friend what we could do to be more aware of other people when we are walking through our day-to-day lives. She gave me some inspiring tips that I want to share. Maybe it will spark something in you the next time you are out in public and see someone alone. Don't hold back, start a conversation! You may be blessed in ways you can't imagine.
So here are some tips we put together to help us be more aware and gentle with people who are single.
First; recognize the next time you see someone sitting alone. It could be at church, in a restaurant, or at a party. Make eye contact. Strike up a conversation. We have the comfort of our spouse with us. They don't. Don't treat them as if they are invisible. You may end up with a wonderful new friend.
If you do have a friend that is widowed; for goodness sake don't introduce them as such! I kid you not, she told me stories of how people did this. She doesn't want a label attached to her. If that comes up in a conversation, it's on her terms. She's a person first. Remember this.
When she does decide to share with you, don't come up to her the next time you see her with "puppy dog" eyes of pity. She doesn't need it. She feels bad most of the time herself. She needs you to be her bright light. There is more to her life than that one moment in her life. She has lots of dreams and interests. Find out about them
This tip was the best. One thing we don't think about is when a husband is gone, there is no one to help around the house. My friend said one time, her friend's husbands told her to come up with a "honey do" list. Things that needed to be done around the house. Things like fixing a fence, repainting a spot somewhere, changing out a light bulb that's just too high for you, hard-core yard work. After they did all the things on the list, all the wives and husbands stayed and had a BBQ. It was a celebration of a job well done.
Last but not least, if you are close to this person in your life; mark in your calendar your friend's birthday., her kids birthdays, her past husband's birthday and anniversary. There is no one there to celebrate these things most times. Just by you sending her a text or a card will make her day. Also, remember to invite her and her family to holiday dinners! You might start a new tradition! We often had family AND friends come to our house if they had nowhere to go. It made for some really fun holidays. My grown children still talk about it. They loved all the people in the house with tons of food, laughter and love.
I am going to be more present and aware the next time I am out in public at certain outings. I want to always be a blessing for others. I don't want to get too tied up in my own life that I don't see the need right in front of me.Let me know if this post gave your encouragement~