Watching people is great! A tenth grade teacher introduced me to the activity. He would talk about visual surveys, sight quests, and the sheer enjoyment found in just sitting and watching the world around him. His passion and pleasure was clear. He did not seem particularly insistent that anyone else take up the “sport” as he referred to it, however the way his eyes lit up and it body became animated was very infectious.
The world's great cities are awesome venues for people gazing. Any airport or bus terminal will work. Shopping centers are great, as are places of high stress (like commuter trains or subways). Walking down High Street in any English town is a great venue. The double good news is that one just has to be, no special equipment required!
My sense, truly non-scientific, conclusion is that people wear their journeys for all to see, and we hope, understand. I believe each of us want others to understand us, accept us for who we are, and share encouragement for our path. Regardless of our understanding of this need, we demonstrate through our expressions, dress, mannerisms, and in a hundred other ways we do not understand, what we are experiencing on our journeys. Some are able to mask things better than others are. Some abused children, people with painful handicaps, and those dealing with extreme bigotry are faced with a life so bleak that they hold onto the good with an intensity that transforms their views and life.
Without being judgmental, there is a second set of observations. When people pursue service to others, their steps seem to be lighter than the rest of us. For others, “the road to wrongdoing gets darker and darker – travelers can't see anything; they fall flat on their faces.” (Proverbs 4.19) As time passes the scars of the night are a warning to us all.
I want others to know and understand my journey. Am I pursuing God? Is the path I am taking the one I want above all else today? It begins with a choice.