Photo by Lorri Nussbaum www.keeperscards.com

Being a creature of habit, I often walk the same route around my neighborhood. (This picture is not my neighborhood, but wouldn’t it be nice if it were!) I smile hello to the occasional dog walker or stroller pusher. On a nice summer evening, a couple of little girls on their bikes like to shag down pedestrians with their friendliness, and I let them suck me in. Emma and Madison.

But mostly I’m in my own head. I’m thinking. I’m praying. I’m listening to an audio book. I’m pondering the dialogue of my characters. I’m humming the latest tune etched in my brain. It adds up the same. I’m in my own head.

Last year the couple at one corner were having a garage sale and they had some nice chairs out. As it happened, I was looking for a good deal on chairs for my kitchen. But it had to be a really good deal, or I could not afford to indulge.

I asked the price. I thought maybe she left out a zero. Really? It was an amazing deal.

But when I walk, I don’t carry cash. And I didn’t have sufficient cash at home, even though it was hardly anything. I asked whether she would take a check.

She said, “Sure. We know who you are.”

Really? Even though they lived several blocks away and we had never spoken, she knew exactly which house was mine.

More recently I was looking for some cheap props for a workshop I was leading. Let’s just say it involved preschoolers and dress-up. Another family with a pile of kids was having a garage sale down the street. I stopped in and mentioned what I was looking for. The mom said, “We see you walking all the time.” Several faces of the underage variety nodded at me, brown eyes wide.

Well. I certainly could not have picked any of them out of a line up to save my life.

I’ve had a couple other similar encounters. It surprises me every time, because I’m an introvert in my own head just out for my walk and minding my own business. I don’t figure anyone is paying attention to me.

When people let me know they recognize me, it’s a good thing. It’s good to be seen. It’s good to be noticed. It’s good to be connected, even at that introductory level. I leave with a smile on my face. Maybe I’ll try to pay a little more attention and put a smile on someone else’s face.

• What’s the most unusual place where you felt noticed and encouraged?

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  1. Lorri Nussbaum on the November 7, 2011 remarked #

    Hi there, Olivia!

    I enjoyed today’s blog. I can just picture you walking down the street …

    Oddly enough, FACEBOOK is the place where I have found the most unexpected encouragement. I have reconnected with around 300+ of my music students from the primary school where I taught when we were missionaries in Lesotho (Africa).

    They were between the ages of 5 and 12 and are now in their 30s. I’m amazed that they remember me at all! Even more amazing is that several have written to tell me that they’re teaching “our songs” to their children.

    Grateful for technology,

  2. Lorri Nussbaum on the November 7, 2011 remarked #

    P.S. Nice photo! 🙂

  3. Olivia on the November 7, 2011 remarked #

    Thanks, Lorri! Facebook shrinks the world, doesn’t it?

  4. Robyn on the November 7, 2011 remarked #

    I don’t know about unusual, but I find I am noticed quite a bit as well, and by people I don’t recall seeing eye to eye. They tell me they see me walking my dog all the time, or they think they recognize me from my photo in the paper that accompanies my column.

    It’s good to be noticed, but it also serves as a check—I wonder, did they see me yank on my dog’s collar because he wouldn’t mind, or did they see me look impatient in the check out line and furrow my brow at the woman who still writes out a check to pay for her groceries, in long hand, as slowly as possible?

  5. Olivia Newport on the November 7, 2011 remarked #

    Good point, Robyn! A reminder to be people of grace even in the little moments.

  6. Mandie on the November 7, 2011 remarked #

    Great blog, and it is so nice to be noticed isn’t it! Sometimes us moms kind of blend into the wall. Good to know someone notices. Hope I can solve that math problem so this gets to you! Funny!

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