It was last December and time for my first post-PICC line follow-up doctor’s appointment. In all honesty, I was feeling like death—to be clear, like death might be the preferable option. Those days of improvement seemed as if they’d been a cruel trick. Now I felt trapped in a rapid, fixed descent never to return.
As usual, the doctor and I discussed life and the latest while he investigated test results and reflexes. Tell me about Ryan, he prodded. So I did. I told him about what a hard worker my husband was, about how he loved me well, and took care of our kiddos when I couldn’t and honored Jesus by honoring me, about how he was funny in a dry way and wasn’t easily shaken. By now, Dr. Lerner was quietly listening taking all of my words in. He gently put his hand up to stop me and said, “He sounds like a fine man but listen, you think you’re the schlep in this relationship…but Ryan married up.” Silently, tears ran down my face. Because, really, what he said to me that day was —- I see you. Beneath all the symptoms, the struggle, the pain, the fatigue, the inability to care for the people that you love, I still see you.
I imagine this is what it’s like for the homeless person when someone sees them as not a homeless person but a person. When someone looks beyond the dirt and grime, the hunger and despair and says, I still see you.
There’s something about being truly seen. It’s like a reflection in a mirror that reminds us who we are, giving us the courage to go on.
Maybe there’s a student in your classroom who needs you to look beyond the behavior and see the hurt and ultimately the potential. Maybe there’s a coworker who needs you to look beyond the need to control and see the fear of loss and the unknown. Maybe there’s a grown up child that needs to know you still see the little boy or girl you adore in spite of all they’ve done wrong.
Because that’s what Jesus did for us. He came to this earth, he put on the uniform of humanity and so many missed him, they didn’t still see him. But in spite of all that we had done wrong, all the times we’d spit in his face, he “wrote his heart across the sky in blazing shade of red” and said
I still see you.
There is someone in your world today, crying out to be seen in spite of their mess, in spite of their pain. Can you make time to see them? They might be in your own home. People you’ve become so accustomed to seeing on the surface, you’ve forgotten to take the time to really see. Today, can you turn to them and in some way say the words our hearts all long to hear?
I still see you.