A couple of days ago, I met up with friends I hadn't seen in months. We took turns catching up with each other. My friend Keelan said her office was having people come in and that her days of working from home may be coming to an end. She wasn't looking forward to riding the subway again. Of course, that triggered an avalanche of stories of events we witnessed while riding the New York metro. For the most part, people keep to themselves, either reading a book or staring at their phones, but we've all encountered bizarre behavior. Keelan explained that she attracts people who want to sit next to her and tell her their life stories. She said, "I'm not sure what to say or do." Right away, everyone was nodding their head in agreement. We could relate because it happens to all of us.
My friend Charlene said, "Maybe we give out an energy that seems safe and inviting. I think many people are lonely and looking for someone to talk to." I believe that as well. I think it's human nature to want to connect, and unfortunately, some are unable to create relationships. For my part, I'll listen and hope it gives them a chance to feel seen and heard. I don't offer advice, but I'll let them know I understand and care. It doesn't take any effort, and I hope it helps them. We can't close ourselves off to others; we should practice compassion and empathy when we can.
As we talked about our various experiences with strangers spilling their guts to us, my friend Glenn took front and center by saying he had a solution. He said that he didn't mind people talking to him, and he agreed that most people are looking for a friendly face. "Sometimes I would feel uncomfortable when someone wanted my opinion, and I don't know what to say. So I decided to carry a pack of prayer cards. Whenever someone needed to talk, I would hand them a card and tell them I hope this will help."
I said, "That's brilliant! What responses have you gotten?"
Glenn said, "It's always the same. First, I get a look of confusion, and then when they see what I gave them, they smile and say 'thank you.' I feel like I gave them something tangible, and I believe in the power of prayer."
I love this idea, and I plan on doing the same. I think it would be a nice gesture to give someone who feels a little lost and unsure of themselves. It lets a person know that they're not alone and that a positive affirmation in the form of a prayer may offer them some hope. We encounter new people every day, and some are put in our path for a reason. I believe it gives us a chance to grow our humanity. The next time I'm on the subway, I will be armed with prayer cards for whoever may need something good to read.