Take a Minute

Slow down a busy life. Talk to someone.

Last fall, my wife and I, alongside 12.84 million other viewers watched and fell in love with a new show on NBC called, This Is Us. This article contains information and possible spoilers from one of the later episodes in the season for those who have not seen the show.

If you have seen the show, This Is Us, you know that it has a way of speaking directly to your heart. After months of watching one of the most beautiful episodes of the season, today I was reminded of something one of the main characters decided at the end episode.

In the episode, “What Now?” after the passing of his biological father, Randall questions what he should do next with his life. Randall was a perfectionist before the passing of William. The perfectionism made him a nervous wreck at his job not knowing what the future held for his wife and two daughters.

In the time Randall had with William, he learned that his father was never in a hurry. William was the type of person who loved life and lived it to the best he could. The difference between William and Randall was this — one took a minute to enjoy life, the other was ready to move onto the next thing.

In a crucial scene from the episode, the mailman came to the door and asked Randall how his dad was doing. After Randall told the mailman that William had passed, he was shocked to see the mailman had started to cry. Randall said to the mailman, “I didn’t realize you two had gotten to know each other.” To which the mailman replied while holding back tears, “Yeah. On his morning walks we got to talking. People don’t just stop to talk anymore, you know? We became friends. He always asked about my daughter. I’m sorry for your loss. This neighborhood will miss him.” This meeting with the mailman was one last thing to rock Randall’s world. I guess you could consider it his “wake up call”.

Later on in the episode, Randall quits his job after working there for ten years, bringing in eighty percent of their clients and working twenty hour workdays. When his former boss asks him what he is going to do as he is walking away, Randall replies with a smile on his face, “I don’t know. Maybe instead of running in the morning, I’ll go for a walk. Slow it down a little. Talk to my mailman. That seems like a good way to start the day.” Then he turns around and walks out.

Today, these scenes came to mind when I helped a woman at the hospital. I could have continued to do my job and not bothered to ask her if she was okay, but I’m glad I did. I’m glad I stopped to talk to her for a few minutes. She began to tell me the things that have been going on in her life this past week and a half. Last Tuesday, her mom had a pacemaker put in, and today her dad was having one put in also and on top of taking care of her parents, her husband died unexpectedly on Sunday.

When she opened up to me, I knew she wasn’t just a generally crappy day. She was hurting. She thanked me for talking to her for just a few minutes and then she went on her way.

We can get so caught up in the moment and in our own interests, we don’t see others around us to even begin to realize what they are going through. Take a minute to slow down. Take a minute to talk to someone you see every day, but normally don’t speak to at all. Just as Paul writes in Philippians 2:4, don’t just look out for your own interests, but also look out for the interests of others. Life is too short to think only about ourselves. It’s too short to not be relational and be in contact with other people. It’s too fragile to be certain of things working out how we plan them to be. We need to slow down and enjoy it with those around us.

Bless someone by talking to them and asking how they are really doing. You might surprise them, but what’s even better is you might surprise yourself.

Challenge yourself, slow down, and take that minute to get to know someone.

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