Some people are invisible.
We go to the bank, and never look the teller in the eye. Just a guy. We push our shopping cart past the family, and never even see the young father’s face. We couldn’t recognize him again if they paid us. Just a guy. The Uber driver. The man behind the burger counter. The homeless man out front, or the bus passenger. Just a guy. We look past the neighborhood man who walks his dog regularly down our street, watching the black and white springier spaniel tug on the red leash instead. Him? Just another guy.
The word we often use for unnamed, faceless people is “a guy”.
It comes from the name of Guy Fawkes, who was part of a failed attempt to blow up the English Parliament in 1605. In England, people used to burn his effigy in the faceless shape of a man, which they called “a Guy.” In most circles now, “a guy” simply means a man in general. Or “guys”–a wrap up meaning for all the anonymous people of either sex gathered. In mask form, it has come to stand for any anonymous person.
Sadly, our individualistic world is full of guys. People no one really looks at, or really listens to, or really cares to get to know. We don’t really see the guys. We’re on our way, too busy. Our minds are somewhere else. We’re checking our texts. We don’t take the time to see beyond the figures, to the faces of the real people with real stories who have a deep value to God. No one is just a guy to God. In every person we meet, a precious revelation, a God-moment, awaits.
And as we walk past them a bit of our own humanity is burned in effigy, too. Take a sniff. You can smell the smoke of our smoldering community, and our blackened, disconnected, selfish future.
“Perhaps our most hidden sin is that we have so little time for one another. We need to relearn how to relate eye to eye, hand to hand, heart to heart.” – Edward Farrell, Free to Be Nothing
It takes so little to change a guy into a person.
A smile. A good tip. A pat on the shoulder. An introduction. A thank you. A simple, “I love your dog. How long have you had her?”
Today, Lord, may I open my eyes and see people as you do. May I really “see” the guys. Amen.