Just a few weeks ago, I opened my blinds at work, something I do every day because I always like to let the sunlight in. This time I happened to catch a glimpse of people I knew at the building next door. I recognized that my Aunt and Uncle were getting in their car. I picked up my cell phone and texted my Aunt “I see you.” Because I really could see her, she was looking around wondering where I was. After a few more texts, they decided to stop by and see me. Not many people come by my office so it was a real treat when they stopped by to say hello. Thankfully, she didn’t let the text freak her out, but took time out of her day to come by. Even though we live close, we rarely get the opportunity to just spend time together. I was grateful that I saw them.
As this New Year has begun, I have heard of the usual resolutions and goal setting. I enjoy setting goals myself. This year, I am working on setting up some accountability so that more of my goals are met. I have my health and exercise goals, my school and career goals, and my personal goals. But there is one idea that keeps coming to mind as I begin this year. I would like to truly take the time to “see” people. Let me explain.
In my opinion, one of the most valuable gifts that Jesus gave people when he walked the earth was the gift of being seen. Think about it…the people that he reached out to and that he spent time with were the outcasts, the forgotten, the lowest on every scale. He didn’t sit at king’s tables or rub elbows with the powerful. He touched the eyes of the blind. He healed the disease of the lepers. He invited the poor to the table. He sat down at dinner with sinners and the morally questionable. He looked into the eyes of those who were stepped over, stepped on, and completely forgotten. Jesus took the time for those that no one else had time for. He truly saw people. I believe this made all the difference.
What if you and I took time to truly see people? We often think of changing the world by doing big things…we think of going across the world to reach people…or feeding whole communities. I think those are wonderful goals. But, might it be that we can begin to change our little part of the world by just seeing people? In the rush of our day, we likely pass many people. We look down or around or through them. We avoid eye contact because it can be uncomfortable or because we are just too busy. Yet, in all of this, we may be missing the opportunity to truly let people know that they have been seen…that they exist…that they are acknowledged…that they are SOMEBODY. We degrade life when we refuse to see others. To see someone…if we can have the eyes of Jesus…may change our lives and theirs. We might see their hurt or their fear or simply that they are people just like us. We might see their humanity, our shared humanity. We might see that Jesus loves them just like he loves us. We might see that they are actually just one of us. Beneath our façade, we are all created and loved by God.
My prayer for this New Year is that I begin to truly open my eyes, take a moment, and see…see what God has put right in front of me…see those who may not have been seen…and to see with the eyes and love of Jesus. Open my eyes, Lord.