Be More Aware of People Coming into Your Life

by David Tillman

Looking back, it is interesting how something I read or heard has stayed with me and enriched my life. In James Redfield’s book, The Celestine Prophecy, there was an insight about welcoming people who come into your life. My takeaway is we have the opportunity to learn from everyone who comes into our life. Every since then, I have held my head up a little higher, often greet people with a hello and eye contact, and been open to what comes next.

I sometimes take this to the extreme and think for a minute about what I could learn from everyone I meet on a crowded street downtown, at the mall, or at the state fair. Being open and willing to interact with someone I do not know has made my life more interesting and fulfilling. It’s as if our paths are crossing for a reason that is beyond our awareness. There is a mysterious element involved.

A good friend of mine shared with me the other day that if he had not gotten divorced, accepted the invitation to go to a singles group meeting, learned from someone at the meeting about attending a church, taking the risk to go to a church service there, and ultimately meeting and marrying his wife, the love of his life, how different his life would have been.

I am grateful that a friend I had met in a college concert band introduced me to a teacher, Ace, who oversaw the campus student-run radio station. After our meeting, I became a radio disc jockey and later the station’s music coordinator. I worked with many record companies, sending them our disc jockey top picks from the records they sent us. This was a new leadership experience for me. Ace encouraged me, challenged me, celebrated my mistakes, and was a good listener. Had my friend not suggested I meet Ace, my life would have been different.

As a chaplain, I have met so many wonderful and interesting people. They all teach me about life through their stories, which include joy, anger, fear, and grief. I am amazed at people sharing about their lives if I just take the time to listen. Just “Show up and shut up,’ as one of my seminary professors shared with the class one day. I trust and am more endeared to those who truly listen to me for who I am; warts, faults, and everything else. What a gift it is to be heard.

I realize I cannot talk with everyone that comes across my path. I keep my head up and have become more aware of people coming into my life. I see so many heads looking down these days. A smile and saying hello may bring a little joy to the others person’s day. Who knows what it might lead to? Years later you may say, what a blessing and joy it has been that I was open and willing to interact with this person, who is now my friend.

© David Tillman, 2018,, all rights reserved

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