People Watching

Observation
Original photo from Unsplash

Earlier in the morning the lakefront was calm and quiet. A couple of hours later the area was crowded with people, blankets, towels, coolers and the items needed for a day at the beach.

We set up our camp chairs on a grassy slope facing the water. Despite the fact I had a book with me, most of my time was spent people watching.

Laughter echoed in the air as children frolicked in the water. Several were on brightly coloured flotation devices. I watched siblings splash each other and parents introduce toddlers to the water.

A couple carried paddle boards down to the water. They climbed on, quickly found their balance, stood and paddled off. I watched their fluid strokes with admiration.

A little farther out a bright yellow kayak made its way close to the roped off beach area. On the other side of the rope a few speed boats towed water skiers.


The variety of activity was perfect for people watching.

A young boy, about three years old, ran back and forth on the pathway. A butterfly had captured his attention and he followed its flight. When it landed on a nearby patch of grass the boy slowly approached and leaned in for what I assumed was a closer look. I smiled at his curiosity and a moment later was shocked to see him stomp down and grind it into the ground. Not what I expected!

In a public setting, it is easy to watch people. On the lakefront I saw fun and laughter, some sweet loving moments and a few things I wish I hadn’t observed.

Most of us carry on with our lives unaware anyone is watching.

The fact is, I never know for sure if someone has witnessed my actions. I may be the object of someone else’s people watching. If so, what kind of impression am I leaving?

Moo’s Watching

Jesus, inspiration, love, sees meDo you ever feel like you’re being watched? I had that sensation as I walked along a quiet country road. There was no one nearby so the feeling didn’t make sense. Then I glanced at the pasture close to the road and noticed that many of the cows had turned to face me.

It felt almost threatening to have so many pairs of eyes focused on me, even if they were on the other side of a fence.

When I stopped, even more of them turned to watch me. I moved on a little but decided that I wanted a picture so went back. Most of them had turned away. The novelty of seeing a stranger had worn off.

This made me think of the many times I’ve been concerned about walking into a room full of people. What if everyone turns to look at me? I don’t fully understand why the thought of this is an issue. Although others may turn to see who has entered, they will quickly return to what they were doing. The exception to this would be if I did something outrageous or attention seeking. This is not a problem as I generally seek to be inconspicuous.

Instead, what I should focus on is the one who always sees me. Jesus sees me not only on my best behavior but also when I’m in my ugly, defiant and rebellious states. His love for me never wavers. Knowing this, I desire to life my life in praise and adoration for the one who knows me best and still loves me.

I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. (Psalm 94:18-19 NLT)