As kids, when we were taught how to swim, we were told to use the buddy system. We couldn't swim on our own because we needed to look out for each other. If one kid started to struggle, the other one was there to help and call for an adult. But I think the buddy system works for more than just learning to swim. In fact, I would appreciate the buddy system in every part of my life.
I have come to realize that there are so many broken people in this world. They're everywhere. The smiling girl across the aisle at the grocery store is grieving her father's death. The guy next to you is struggling to find his voice in this ridiculously loud world. The woman in front of you with the cutest outfit is stressed out of her mind, making a giant career decision.
You would never guess this just by looking at them. They're happy, at least they seem that way. They're happy, funny people. You would never guess that they're the strongest too. You don't see why they would need to be strong. But that's just it. They don't show it. You can't see their strength because you can't see their weakness. They're falling to pieces from the inside out, just waiting for someone to realize that they need help. Just waiting for someone to ask a simple question like, "Are you okay?" Just waiting for someone to see the pain in their eyes, and care. Don't underestimate the power of a smile, a simple compliment, a "How are you?" a friendly hello. Mankind is relational. We crave relationships, no matter how much we may deny it and hide it.
Life is like swimming in an ocean. It may be a cheesy metaphor, but stick with me here. Some of us are in shallow, calm water - just floating. That's fine. But some are in deep waters, drowning, gasping for what little breath they can get. Who do we think we are, sitting in our shallow water, watching others drown? We should be diving in, coming alongside them, helping them to safety. We need to show them love, grace, and mercy. Not ignoring their subtle cries for help, and definitely not pushing them farther down. We must point them in the direction of safety and swim there with them. Don't just play in the kiddie pool or stay on the shore.
So smile at strangers. Ask how they're doing. Have heart-to-hearts with your best friends. Be the one person that could make someone else's day. Show the world Christ's love in the little things.
Have the eyes and ears of a lifeguard and point people to the only Lifeguard that can truly save them. People are broken and drowning, but we weren't meant to swim alone.