This morning, as I was on my way to work, I ran into a peculiar young man. Well, maybe I shouldn’t call him peculiar but there was something about him that made me wonder about his future. He was young, maybe about 14 or 15 years old, with corn-rowed hair that obviously had expired a few weeks ago. He was wearing a long-sleeve gray silk shirt with a nice tie and a pair of slacks and dress shoes. He carried what appeared to be an attaché in one hand and a gym bag in another hand. I was drawn to the gym bag which had the logo of what I believe is either an investment or law firm.
I couldn’t stop staring at this young man because while his cornrows would have been telling, I had this feeling that he was destined for greatness. I felt like he was probably on his way to part of the journey this morning. For the length of our ride together—which was only about 3 minutes, I just thought very highly of this young man. As I departed the train, I thought about the implications of shifting my thoughts about him from negative to positive and I remembered something that C.S. Lewis said in “The Weight of the Glory” about glory yet to be seen in our neighbors. I thought I would share that this afternoon and let it forever change how you see your neighbor.
An excerpt from “The Weight of the Glory” by C.S. Lewis
It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbour. The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbour’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken. It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously—no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.