I envy smokers sometimes. You have seen them. Those lonely people huddled outside a back entrance looking reflectively at the horizon. I envy them because they have an excuse to go outside during work hours. They are probably one of the few people who ever look at the stars anymore. And if you joined them, they seem more than willing to take an interest in you and strike up a conversation.
Studies have shown that smokers are much more likely to be extroverts than introverts. They probably started smoking because of the communal aspect of the practice but now they are stuck in solitude wondering where all of their smoking buddies went. Smokers, because they have become so ostracized, have a natural bond with other smokers that involves bumming lighters and cigarettes.
Am I romanticizing the smoker? Probably, but I do wish that I could just walk outside right now and no one ask me if I am waiting for someone, or if I need a ride. “Can’t you see I am just standing here because it is a nice day and I needed some fresh air?” Have we gotten so accustomed to busyness that if we see a person sitting and reflecting on things that we must assume they are actually wishing they were doing something else? Smokers have an excuse to be reflective, to chill, to be in nature, to share a kind word. No one questions their motivations, they just notice that they are smoking and that they are doing the things that smokers do.
I wish it was just as common for Christians to be seen in deep thought and reflection. I wish Christians had a common experience outside the church that provided support, encouragement, and growth.
The next time you see a smoker, think of a way that you can take a break from your constant tasks and just be for a little while. Maybe you can ask a Christian friend to join you and you both can simply enjoy each other’s company and the shared bond that exists between you.