I was in the grocery store the other day, and I noticed the young girl in line ahead of me.  She was beautiful and so were her tattoos. The tattoos stood out against her pale skin. Her dark hair was blond streaked and pulled back in a sloppy pony tail.  She looked hungry but the only item at the register was a can of baby formula. She clumsily pulled out a wad of dollar bills from the front pocket of her jeans. Some coins fell from the wad of cash and she counted the money until the amount was right. She pushed it toward the cashier. 

The cashier seemed impatient with the girl.  She picked up the cash and put it in the register. The cashier was an older woman with thick, salt and pepper hair swept away from her face.  Her hands were calloused and her skin leathery.

Both women seemed tired. The cashier from standing at her job all day……maybe the younger woman from caring for her children all day. Both seemed heavy with worry, weariness and busyness.  

What I noticed most was their disregard for one another.  They wouldn’t look at each other, neither smiled nor spoke.  No chit-chat between these two when the cashier handed the girl her receipt.   Each was in her own space. 

I couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened if one of them had said hello? or smiled?   

I’ve done the same thing.  I’ve been too busy to notice those around me. Too tired to smile or too deep in my own world that I didn’t speak.  

How many opportunities have I missed to simply acknowledge another?  To share a smile, an encouraging nod, or a friendly comment? 

I kept trying to catch the young tattooed girl’s eye. I wanted her to know that I saw her but she never looked my way.  

I tried to chat with the cashier but she wasn’t in the mood. 

That’s okay. I saw her. 

I must see those around me.  

How can I love them if I don’t see them?