Quote: Meeting a Stranger

“We die to each other daily. What we know of other people is only our memory of the moments during which we knew them. And they have changed since then. To pretend that they and we are the same is a useful and convenient social convention which must sometimes be broken. We must also remember that at every meeting we are meeting a stranger.” – T.S. Eliot, The Cocktail Party

This quote is a reminder to me that “knowing” somebody is quite different than “knowing about” them. Knowing about somebody is a memory exercise. It occurs in the mind. Truly knowing somebody involves a real relationship and a connection that occurs at real points in time. It involves the heart. It involves a real understanding of who a person is and that they are made in the image and likeness of God.

Truly getting to know somebody means getting to know Christ in that person. It’s not something we remember that they’ve said or done. It’s connecting with who they simply are.

Every time we meet somebody, whether it’s a close friend or a complete stranger, it’s an opportunity to seek out Christ – to know Him more. There is something there for us. It’s not only an opportunity to see if the person has changed (though they undoubtedly have), it’s an opportunity for us to change. Do we know this person more closely? Do we see Christ more clearly in them?

The Holy Spirit is continually working in every one of us. That means that every single moment, no matter whom it involves, is a new chance to encounter Him.

We spend our lives wanting to know God. Who are you God? Why won’t you reveal yourself to us? The answer, at least partly, is walking around in every stranger old and new.

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