What if you could spend a moment each day saving a life? I’m in no way implying that it’s expected of you to be a superhero that flies around, saving people from danger each and every turn, but I am asking you to be a different kind of superhero. What if you were the kind that could save them just by looking at them?
I have always bought whole-hog into the phrase “the eyes are the window to the soul” and feel there is something deeper there. There’s a reason why people don’t maintain eye contact as well as they could when communicating with others. You mess up as a kid, smashed a baseball through a window or didn’t perform as well as expected on an exam. You come to your parent or legal guardian afraid to face them, perhaps even head facing downward. You might argue that you couldn’t even bear looking at them in the eye because you knew that you had failed them in some way. Other times its just nervousness or fear. Some of it is “If I lock eyes with this person, then they’ll see my secret” (I think if you wear glasses or contacts, then you get a leg up on peoples superpowers, it’s a little harder to get through your “wall”). What if you could be a superhero for others with your eyes?
I couldn’t tell you all the moments when I have had people save me, far too many to count. I will spend a lifetime thanking others for just looking at me when I needed it most. It could be in high school standing in a huddle before a big play. It could be when I was up & ready to quit my job to start a burrito restaurant and at that moment having a student or staff member look me in the eye and help me realize that me and all my thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams, fears matter in this world. It could be anything you want it to be. To me, it’s hard to describe this sentiment of appreciation in any other way than thanking them for being a “lifesaver” or call these moments “lifesavers.” A personal superhero that has helped me pick myself up and dust off. Bear with me here. I’m not mocking the struggles that others face each day, each person has their own journey, but its essential to examine how we open ourselves up to others and allow others to feel like they can open up to us.
Often times its too easy to walk past the person asking you to spare a dollar or a person that you pass in the hallway and offer a half-hearted greeting and “how’re you doing?” as you mosey on throughout your day. What if that wasn’t the case? What if you made a point to spend just one time a day to look someone square in the eyes and, better yet, tell them what they mean to you. To take the chance on looking them in the eye, sharing a breath, and a conscious moment of empathy and happiness that says “HEY! I SEE YOU! YOU MATTER TO THIS WORLD!” The world is a strange and scary place. What if you did something a little less scary and helped someone not feel so alone in it, if even for a moment?
James Crawford serves as a Coordinator of Greek Life at Vanderbilt University and is a graduate of the Higher Education and Student Affairs program at the University of South Carolina and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington where he majored in Athletic Training. James is a member of The Delta Chi Fraternity and enjoys spending time with his fiancée, his corgi named Pancake, and loves photography. He has a blog that he loves to write about leadership and life at https://darwinizms.wordpress.com/ and follow him on Twitter!