Recently, we had the opportunity to take a family trip to Disneyland.  Every night in the park, they hold a Mickey “Soundsational” Parade.  This is not like any parade my kids have ever seen – there was every live Disney character imaginable on floats or dancing in unison down the street.  We arrived to the parade just as it was beginning, which meant we struggled to find a place close enough for the kids to see.  My older two managed to squirm their way to the front of the crowds lining the curb.  My youngest child convinced her daddy to give her a shoulder ride (she is almost a pro at this no matter how big she gets.)

The kids were in awe as the parade progressed – I enjoyed watching them as much as the parade itself.  At one point, the princess float approached.  There was one princess in particular at the very top of the float waving and smiling at the crowd.  As the float passed in front of us, all of a sudden, the top princess picked Rachel out of the crowd, bent over slightly to catch her eye, then gave her a big intentional wave and a smile.  There was no mistaking the wave was directed specifically at Rachel.  Rachel knew this as well, and she sat up real straight and waved vigorously right back at the princess, a huge grin spread across her face.  Even though it was just a brief two-second interaction, I could feel her excitement from being noticed in such a way.  It warmed my momma’s heart.

This reminds me of the Thrive definition of joy – being the sparkle in someone’s eye.  The sense of “I’m glad to see you!” is a fundamental basis for joy in our lives.  The princess did not have to intentionally wave at anyone – in every parade, the people normally just wave to the crowd as a whole.  But she didn’t – she intentionally picked Rachel out and conveyed the message, “I see you!”  We all have this basic human need to be “seen” and to be loved when we are “seen”.

In Mark 10, Jesus was talking to the rich young ruler, who had asked him what he must do to inherit eternal life.  Before Jesus gave him the difficult answer of selling all his possessions, verse 21 says, “Jesus looked at him and loved him.”

Really?  You can love someone just by looking at them?  Is this possible?

The life model explains this “glad to see you” eye contact is incredibly powerful.  “This experience goes back and forth at amazingly fast rates – six cycles per second in a nonverbal face-to-face exchange – all the time growing stronger joy between both people.”  (Life Model p. 22)

It amazes me that something so simple can be so powerful!  I challenge you to try it out for yourself – walk around and intentionally look people in the eye and convey the message, “I am glad to see you” without saying any words at all.  Whenever I do this, I am always surprised how much this increases my joy as well.

Be Blessed Friends!  Janet Hoyt