Watching people has been an interest and pastime for much of my life. The other evening I sat in a new part of town watching individuals wrap up their day and head out into the evening. I was entertained with an amazing variety of clothing styles, attitudes, and attitudes on display. I found myself remembering an English teacher in high school describing the fun in great detail. His words, now decades old, described the scene in front of me. People were talking in all kinds of ways. I could imagine voices in the hairstyles on display – from traditional cuts to radical expressions of individuality and defiance. The expressions through how people dressed were loud and clear, although I did wonder if some were listening to themselves when they walked out into the world earlier in the day.
As I waited for colleagues to join me and quietly watched, patterns began to emerge. Traditions could be seen. Respectful dissonance was on display. Defiant stances were obvious. Along with each was an individual with an emotional display. Some screamed out to anyone paying attention through their walk. Confident, angry, and casually inviting were common voices. A wide range of other statements joined in.
In the midst of the swirl of colors, styles, and voices, I realized that there were two distinct streams. One called attention to the individual. In a peacock, childish kind of way, individuals were demanding the attention of those around them. The other stream was quite different. With a range of conservative to fun outrageousness, individuals seem to be inviting others to join them in their space.
I watched, wondering what I was telling others. Even as I looked at myself in the glass I wondered. I know what I hoped for; “Stalwart walks in step with God; his path blazed by God, he’s happy.” (Psalm 37.23) I hope my walk speaks of peace. I want it to be an invitation to others to enjoy the ride. Whatever we said in yesterday’s message, today brings a fresh canvas where we will write a new chapter.