I walked in the door to the office this morning. Joe, the security guard, waved and smiled. I caught him in the corner of my eye, over my shoulder. I turned and waved back. A smile crossed my face. I realized this was a ritual that started my day with pleasure. It was small. But valued.
I stopped, turned around, and walked to Joe. I opened the glass door to the small reception area where Joe sits. I told Joe how much I appreciated his wave and smile in the morning. I thanked him.
Joe turned it around on me. “Thank you for waving back.” I was struck. It was as if Joe were telling me, “Thank you for seeing me.”
I avoid waving hello to someone first. I do better now than I used to. I force myself to wave. It’s very uncomfortable. Fear drives this.
I’m afraid of two things. First, I might look foolish waving at nobody when they don’t wave back. Second, and more importantly, I might find out that I’m invisible.
The world is filled with invisible people. The barista who asks how everyone’s doing and gets the typical acknowledgement consisting of an order, “Grande Douchachino with extra foam, 171 degrees with 2 Splenda.” The people who clean the office at night. The toll taker, the bus boy, the guy on the bus stop, the child who’s mom, dad or teacher is too busy, the wife who makes magic happen while the husband thinks that dinner cooks itself and the laundry fairy folds clothes while he sleeps, etc.
They say seeing is believing. What we believe is what we know. When we don’t see, we don’t know. If we are not seen, we are not known. We feel value and meaning when we are known. Even in small ways. Like someone waving hello to us.
You can make a person magically appear. All you have to do is see them and show them they are seen.
This is more useful than pulling rabbits out of hats.