The mist clears and the image appears, hunched over, quietly maintaining the rows of produce, she wonders about her child at home. Did he get any breakfast this morning? Did he make it to school on time? Will she make it home to greet him when he gets home from school? Will there be enough money to survive? Should she consider looking in other states for ongoing work to make it? That means a change AGAIN for the family. How long will she have the strength to keep doing this. She stands and stretches, seeking comfort from the cramping muscles in her back from endless hours of bending over to take care of the growing plants. She stoops back down to begin her work – seeing the miracle of growth and a promise of an abundant crop just around the corner.
The halls are empty now, floors are shining beautifully, scuff marks from thousands of footprints wiped clean. He wonders how many students will even see the evidence of a night’s hard work. He remembers the face of the young girl from the day before who was walking the halls with her head bent down, tear stained face, echoes of taunting from unkind students who had nothing better to do than tease her for the way she looked. He begins a plan to reach out to her with kindness. Maybe he can find a special treat in the cafeteria to give her to show that someone cares.
The frenzied pace of customers doesn’t slow down for hours. She massages her temples, trying to stave off the makings of another headache from the steam and smells of standing over a hot stove all day long, assuring the taste and quality of the food that people rush through the line to get. She looks up and smiles at the crowd lined up to get their food – business men and women on their cell phones, mothers quieting their little children at their feet, teenagers laughing and enjoying their lunch break – noone smiles back.
The rain pours down, he wipes a tear away as he keeps digging. Digging deeper and deeper and imagining the pain and anquish of the family who will place their loved one in the ground. He looks at the chapel in the distance – sees the family and friends beginning to arrive and he digs faster. It’s hard to dig without thinking about the families that come and go all day long, weeping and stumbling along to the graves that he prepared. He silently prays for them.
Jesus was the master at SEEING people. Really SEEING people. He always sought out the unnoticed in life and brought them hope. Do you really SEE people in your surroundings? The migrant farm workers, the custodial help in a school, the cooks behind the stoves at Chipotle, the grave diggers at the cemetaries? Oh there’s more, tons more.
Consider these words. Consider how you can be JESUS and really SEE them and give them a smile of hope. A simple “thanks for your hard work! I sure do notice!” A cold bottle of water and a “Hang in there!” What role do you play in recognizing those who noone else does?