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On People Watching ...

I am not a stalker. Really, I'm not. But I do enjoy people watching.

I believe that everyone has an interesting life story. Sometimes the story is filled with blessings, sometimes they are marred by tragedy. But whatever the case may be, everyone has a story they want to tell you.

It's amazing how much you can learn about somebody with just careful observation. I love how you can paint a creative picture of a person's life by looking at the clothes they wear, by watching they way they walk - every stride and gait tells a different story, by listening to how they talk, by noting their mannerisms, and if you're brave enough, by staring deeply into their eyes for a glimpse of their soul.

When I was in East Asia, every now and then I would ride my bike to a busy shopping area, buy a cup of pearl milk tea, find some clean steps and just sit and watch people. It's something that I needed to do when I have a case of compassion fatigue. When your life is basically sharing the Gospel with strangers while trying to love them with all your heart, it's only a matter of time before it wears you out physically and emotionally. At times I would catch myself disengage emotionally when I'm sharing with people and I would scream at myself in my head asking, "WHERE ARE YOU? WHERE'S YOUR LOVE FOR THESE PEOPLE?" I really don't know how Jesus loves us so boundlessly ... I can't comprehend it.

So when I sit there on the steps next to some form of spit/snot/urine (yes people love to do all those things in public over there), I would ask God to soften my heart of stone and help me to love. I would sit there for hours praying for the passerby ... imagining their life stories, trying to feel their inner pains and struggles, feeling their confusion in this godless world. It wouldn't be long before I break into tears ... because I would once again realize that this life we live is a tragic story, and for a lot of people, it continues tragically in eternity.

It has almost been a year since I came back to America, and a lot of times I wonder why I don't go people watching anymore. Could it be that my heart is simply dried up and drained of love for others? Or am I simply too busy caring only for my sorry self?

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