I once worked in child care, as an administrative assistant. This was an important time of my life, one in which I learned both to respect children and understand myself. It was in many ways the perfect job–if I tired of bookkeeping, I played with the kids. If I tired of the kids, I always had something else I could escape to.
I’ve never forgotten one of the lessons my boss taught me. I was in the playroom with 20 kids, and I was sitting in a comfy chair with two little ones on my lap, reading a story. There was another child, Richard, who was starting to tussle with someone, and the playroom was full of chatter from other kids and their toys. I wanted to get Richard’s attention, so I kept saying, “Richard. Richard, RICHARD.” The louder I said his name, the more Richard seemed to ignore me, and I was starting to get frustrated because hey, I was supposed to be reading to the two on my lap right then. And honestly, who likes to be ignored?
My boss walked into the room. She looked at me, looked at Richard and then calmly went to him whispering, “Richard? I think Crystal’s trying to get your attention.”
Richard looked up, quite surprised, and came to me immediately. He wasn’t trying to be disobedient–he hadn’t heard me because of the other noise in the room.
It’s a life lesson that applies here too.
We live in a busy, video-centric instant world. Personally, I find it hard to navigate sometimes. For example, I’m quite sensitive to flashing lights. As a result, I don’t play video games, go to disco, attend weddings or go out most evenings.
Some may think I therefore live a sheltered life, but that’s short-sighted. It’s a limitation, that’s all. I’ve learned to live within its boundaries and my husband and closest friends have as well. True confession–even if I throw a four-year-old style tantrum (especially when I miss weddings), the fact is we’ve adjusted our lifestyle to accommodate it. Most days, it’s no different than, say, having to wear glasses to write this. It’s just how it is.
The problem with being in a busy, video-centric instant world is how hard it becomes to see anything. Take an ambulance on the road for example. At the risk of sounding like an old woman–I remember a time when an ambulance would run its lights, and people would pull over. Then, I think because people didn’t pull over as they should, faster lights were added. Now, they strobe at a ridiculous rate, so we can see them a kilometre or two away. Road crews, garbage trucks–they’ve all had to make their lights brighter and faster.
The question is why?
I think it’s because of the noise–visual noise in this case–and it’s so loud, bright and quick, that we no longer see it. We expect it, and as a result, it’s hard to move away from it to a quieter place. Sometimes when we get to a quieter place, we don’t know how to handle it.
I wonder if that’s also part of the reason why there seem to be so many people struggling these days. Not only do we miss the million little blessings of the normal day, but other people miss us. We are lonely in the midst of millions of people. Even though we are all bright lights, it’s hard to be noticed with all the other strobes out there.
Darnell Barton is a modern-day hero because he found a way to filter the noise. He saw her, and he made a life-changing decision because of it. What you may not realize from this video is that there were a few people who walked right by and never noticed her. Take a minute to hear his story.
Hurry with your answer, God!
I’m nearly at the end of my rope. Don’t turn away; don’t ignore me! That would be certain death.
If you wake me each morning with the sound of your loving voice,
I’ll go to sleep each night trusting in you.
Psalm 143:7-8 The Message