He who has eyes to see…he who has ears to hear…
Pretty much all that is needed to be observant is to have eyes and ears. Well, that’s part of what you need. Each of us has the ability to observe all that is going on around us. We see each other, we can hear each other, and we can observe. Most of the observations that I make tend to come from body language and tone of voice. But in order to really be “mindful” or observant, I have to go deeper. I have to ask that next question or take that next moment to look into the eyes of someone.
Most of this life, people just fly by trying to get to the next activity or next “to do”, or the next project. We are, at times, so myopic that we barely look up from the task at hand! Being “observant” is, I believe, a learned skill. This kind of skill may take practice for some. It’s detecting that time when someone said “I’m ok”, or “I’m fine” after being asked how they were, and it just didn’t sound right. Or the person who is all smiles and seem happy, yet their eyes are red from crying or about to cry.
Yes, being “observant” is a part of what we are required to do if we are to be focused on the “one another’s”. Someone is missing at church…someone turned their back on a conversation…someone left the room…someone was treated poorly…someone is struggling with their child or just struggling to put on a coat. These are all things that can be observed by others…the question is, however, not whether or not you observe these things, but will you or do you or I, DO anything about WHAT we/I observe?
It’s easy to brush past the “I’m fine”, even though the tone says they are not. It’s easy to think, “Wow, glad my kids are grown”, when a young family is struggling. It’s easy to say, “They should lose some weight, then they might not limp” when there is more to the health story.
Part of the word “observant” is the word, “servant”. I honestly think what we “observe” should move us to “serve” and help the person we see in need…even if it is just a smile or an encouraging word! How many times could you have used that extra “service” to get you through the day?
God gave us “eyes to see” and “ears to hear” and while I know I’m taking a bit of liberty with this verse, I do believe that God wants us to be observant of each other, to see that we can “observe” one another’s needs and hurts. We all have our times of hurt and sorrow, and we all need those around us to encourage us and be kind.
Is there something or someone you have “observed” to be in need of a helping hand or a smile? Is there someone who has asked you that deeper second question when they “observed” your need? If you think your “observation” skills are lacking, ask God to help you to be more attuned to being “observant”. May I encourage you to not just be “the bird on the wire”, “observing” life around you, but to be the “servant” to what you “observe”. Blessings!