The Extras

Estimated reading time: 2 minute(s)

I was at a gas station the other day, just pumping some gas (for myself, not for other folks… I did not land a day job at the local gas station…)

And I noticed something.

For one brief moment, I became part of another world.

There was a family there, pushing the stroller, two other kids in tow… trying to manage a mob of small energetic people. And as I watched and listened, I thought, “Hey, that’s like us. That is us. We walk right through here, and there are people pumping gas when we walk by… now I AM the guy pumping gas in their world…”

And I realized… we are so egocentric. (I am using that term in the philosophy sense… not the selfish, prideful, arrogant sense.) That means, I am the center of my world… everything revolves around me, and is perceived from my vantage point. Mostly, the people around us are just like extras in a movie. Insignificant filler in the story of my life.

But they’re not. Till I was pulled out of my world and swept into theirs, the family walking by were the extras… not me. But then from a different perspective, I was the extra.

I was no longer husband to Jen, father to Ian, Alex & Kirsten. I was no longer a musician, writer, web-designer. I was no longer Tom & Shirley’s son, Tara’s brother. I was just a guy pumping gas.

Isn’t that so odd? The following day at Wal-Mart, I began seeing people for who they really are. Each person has a rich past, and a full present. They are someone’s Dad, Mom, Grandma, Grandpa, son, daughter, friend, boss, partner, pastor, teacher, doctor, etc.

And yet to me, they are extras.

I won’t have the opportunity to be part of any of their worlds. Perhaps some. But likely, they will remain in a way, extras. But, I would like to remember that gas-station experience where for a moment, the world was not my world.

What a world it would be if there were no extras. If we realized the fullness of everyone we run into at a gas station. That is only a piece of the world God knows. He knows each of us intimately. Every detail. Every relationship. All that we are. More than anyone else.

Now that is amazing.

Quite a perspective God has on this world, eh?


  1. you and the Uber-Author Donald Miller have something in common… the extra-in-a-movie concept. Check out, “Blue Like Jazz” chapter… uhm… chapter something. I think that dang book should be distributed to every household like “Frampton Comes Alive”…with sample boxes of Tide. Very cool post!


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