Give a Little Attention

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The cappuccino was okay. The customer service... not so much.

Maarten Caspari and I went to a restaurant in Bergen for a cup of coffee. After an hour it started getting busy and it was time for us to go, so we stood up and walked to the cash register to pay for our drinks. We looked for the waitress. After a little bit of searching we found her... in the corner... sitting... with a glas of wine... together with the chef! And the other waitresses were with her too! She looked at us and then looked back to her wine and her smartphone.

Mr. Caspari and I are foreigners here in the Netherlands. And we know that in the NL, everyone has a right to their breaks at work. We also think that's a good idea. Goed gedaan, Nederland. But Ms. Waitress, we wanted to give you our money! 

After a little bit there appeared another waitress from a dark corner with several drinks on a tray (apparently she was in fact still working). She walked right past us without saying anything or even acknowledging our existence. She brought the drinks to the table and began to take the order of another group of people. And the rest of the waitresses just kept sitting, sipping their wine - at 4 o'clock in the afternoon.

These two good-looking guys and our money got no attention, no matter how long we stood there waiting. In the end, we left some money on the register and walked away.

Everything that receives attention feels seen and valued. Something so simple as looking someone in the eyes and saying "good morning" communicates so much more than only "good morning." In that simple action you are inviting others to step outside of their isolation, even if its only for a moment. You say to them, "You are seen. You're not alone."

Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (John 1:48–49, ESV)

I've often wondered, why was this so special for Nathanael? Was he praying beneath the fig tree and Jesus' comments showed him that God had heard his prayers? Maybe we'll never know exactly wat happened there. But I know one thing for sure: no matter what Nathanael said or did Jesus let him know, "I see you." 

Around the table at dinner, by the door at the Sunday afternoon gatherings or in a restaurant in Bergen give the people around you your attention and see how a little effort can have such a great impact.

- Chris Green

Chris Green