Yesterday I wrote about the initiation of a new ministry work: Soteria Prison Ministry newsletter and inmate correspondence. I spent much time drawing from the pastor/pardoned exoffender what our audience, the inmates, will look for in our publications. His words were, "They need to know they have value and that they will be assets when they are discharged."
As I listened to him and watched his facial reactions as I probed for more descriptions of the feelings on "the inside," I sensed his remembrance of a loss of personhood. The sadness that fell on his eyes moved me greatly.
Hasn't everyone felt that to some degree? Today I'm impacted with the power of noticing people at every level. Everyone deserves attention. I've always been fascinated by people...all people. So, I've always known people I have come in contact with on a regular basis. I know the tellers at my bank. I'm even making a choker for one of them. She keeps admiring one of my necklaces and recently she told me how she loves jewelry and especially chokers.
Today I'm convicted that I can do a better job in respecting and honoring all people that serve me and that I encounter on a regular basis.
A college student found a major question on a business exam was "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school in this building?" Most students had to hand in the exam with that question blank. One concerned student inquired of the professor if that cleaning lady question would count as much as the other questions in their ultimate grade.
"Oh, yes," the professor declared, "your respect and honor for the many people you will meet in your career is important. Each one of those people are significant. They deserve your notice and validation. If all you do is smile and say "hello," they matter enough to be acknowledged."