Being known

Every Tuesday morning, after my early Adoration hour, I go to Bruegger’s Bagels on the way to work. I’ll bop in there on another day of the week here or there, but it’s definitely part of my Tuesday morning routine.

Shawn is behind the bagel counter, ready to make my plain bagel with egg, cheddar cheese, and tomato (“after it comes out of the oven, please.”)  If it’s not Shawn, I know whomever is back there will not make it properly, and I often won’t even let them try.  I’ll just get cream cheese instead.  Thankfully on Tuesdays it’s almost always Shawn. Then I’ll go to the cash register and be greeted by Sayonara with the greatest “good morning” a Tuesday morning has ever seen.

It’s a routine, and I love it.  Shawn doesn’t even ask me anymore.  One day there was another guy behind the counter with him, and when he asked me what I wanted, Shawn simply said, “I got it,” and pulled a plain bagel out of the basket and started cutting it.

This morning I was thinking how happy this makes me, and at first I just chalked it up to the idea of routine and ritual (which apparently people are finally admitting makes our life better).

But then I decided it’s more than that.

We want to be known.

It’s the human desire to be encountered (which I wrote a bit about here).  It’s the feeling of being encountered, recognized, and known.  We want to feel important — not in a prideful way, not in a famous way, but just important to someone, somehow.

How many people survived prison camps or other terrible situations hanging on to the fact that someone was out there waiting for them?

We want to be known.

Shawn and Sayonara brighten every Tuesday morning because they acknowledge that I exist and that I’m a part of their routines as much as they are a part of mine.  I’d like to think I brighten their days, too.  Addressing them by name, asking them how they are, treating them as if they matter to me – which they do.

What if every day, we tried to seek out at least one other person and brought them God’s love by simply showing them they’re known? Maybe it’s just a matter of making eye contact with a stranger and telling them hello. So often I walk past people as if they’re not there. Maybe it’s taking the time to ask how someone is doing or listen to a coworker’s story – even if I’ve heard it before.  Maybe it’s a gesture of appreciation to someone whose work usually goes unnoticed, or a compliment to someone who is usually forgotten.  It doesn’t have to be grand, it just has to be intentional.

There’s a power in being known.

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2 thoughts on “Being known

  1. Anne says:

    This “being known” really struck a chord with me today, and I like how you reminded me that we can be known by others in smaller simpler ways. I think sometimes I want someone to understand me inside out, and even if it takes awhile, I always conclude that that is a ridiculous desire, as I don’t even know MYSELF that well. So to take comfort and joy in the ways that I AM known. Thank you!

    Also it’s nice to know what you’re doing on Tuesday mornings. It makes me want to write a letter to you!

  2. Rituals are soooo helpful! I’m learning that I thrive with routine. Until recently, my shift work was mostly haphazard–Monday, Tuesday, Saturday one week. Wednesday, Thurs, Friday the next. But now I almost always work the same two days in a row, then five days off. I get so much more done. (I really believe it has more to do with the consistency than the part-time status!)

    And, coincidentally, it means some folks I do get to know better: the same grocery baggers who unload my cart because I shop one designated day of the week, the neighbors who walk their dogs the same time I do, etc.

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