Friday, May 24, 2013

Sawubona - I see you

I have developed a habit in recent years of engaging with toll booth operators when paying the toll for my daily commute. Nothing longwinded enough to upset the cars queuing behind me, but just taking the time to look the person in the eye and say a genuine greeting, thank-you and have a good day. I reckon it must be a soul-destroying job on the whole, and over time I have noticed a typical reaction. They don't expect to be greeted and as they realise that you are engaging them, they first look slightly surprised, then their faces light up, and then I get a big smile and an enthusiastic response.

I have often wondered at this and today it came to me that they just want to be noticed and acknowledged as a person inside the booth; they want to seen.

The traditional Zulu greeting is Sawubona, literally 'I see you', and this recognizes the need that we all have to be noticed and to be genuinely seen and engaged for who we are. There is a sense underlying the meaning of Sawubona that until you saw me I didn't exist.

So my question for today is, do you really see your spouse, and your children, and do you make time daily to put aside everything else, and to really connect with them one on one? And on the flip-side, do you allow your spouse 'in' and give them the privilege of engaging with the real you?

We are all so busy these days, and constant busyness and external sensory stimulation is one of Satan's weapons to keep us from spending time with God and with our spouse and families. Even when we are spending time together in the evenings on the couch, I will be clearing work e-mails on my iPad, Caryn will be on Facebook or Pinterest, and we will have something going on the TV in the background. How often do you have a whole conversation with your spouse, child or a work colleague, without ever looking up from your computer screen?

So take the time to put whatever else you are doing aside, to look people in the eye, give them the gift of your full and undivided attention and let them know that you see them.