I am visual, with a right-brain and a right-hand. Photography eludes me, but I still see pictures. I am a writer. I inventory concepts, words, faces and sounds that I wish distilled into words. I collect snapshots.
Perhaps it is that I have been given the curious non-accident of glimpsing souls.
I’ve always thought I had a knack for seeing people, because I am good at drawing people out of their shells. Well, younger children, that is. My track record with my peers is fraught with mishaps and broken constellations. Still, the ability to treat people as people has been a strong suit of mine.
So I fancied. You can feel the pretension in those first sentences.
In just these past two weeks I have been humbled three times, two of those times in the last two days.
The first is a friend with an ability to respond gracefully, even when angry and frustrated when people snark and don’t respect his vision. He can diffuse tension, be the superglue of group projects, and winsomely and respectfully hold an intelligent conversation on his views and those of other people. Consistently. He and I have a lot of different opinions, guys.
The latter two are two individuals who I had been trying to see as human. Making conversation, “being kind instead of just nice.” And somehow it snapped. Some illusion snapped, and suddenly they were beautiful. The last one today occurred at supper, just hours after my lunchtime thought: “I am going to stop categorizing people into personality types, especially introverts and extroverts. They are all different people.”
I’ve had this illusion of seeing for most of my ‘maturity’ stage. “Oh, I want to see them as human beings. Oh, I want to see their souls. Oh, I understand how they tick and why now.” People became attractive to me based on their attitude, not their looks. Their attitude that I saw in their mannerisms, their way of speaking…
None of these three moments came because of some slow building up of understanding or some gut instinct. They just…broke through, or shone through the cracks, or… I’m really not sure the why or the how. It wasn’t a feeling of enlightenment.
It was simply, purely, frozen as a moment. Not an analysis, not an overkill of words being thrown around…
It was just there. And I saw it. Just saw it.
Little kids have never required a lot of analysis from me, and there are a thousand poetic, profound and occasionally annoying thoughts on that topic. I’ll just say this: they don’t require analysis.
I love to analyze and figure things out. I really do. I love things that don’t make sense for the pure enjoyment of it. But sometimes I need my brain to shut up and listen. College makes that hard. Really hard.
But then again, college is not the point of life anyway. Chasing down “seeing” is not the point of life. Running yourself ragged to live for other people is not the part of life. All of those matter, all are things to be done, but they cannot be your goal, your lifeblood surging through your veins.
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything…
For Further Reading:
Jumping Life – Bailey (I didn’t realize how much this post applied to me until I…well, wrote this post)
Tradecraft: Seeing What You See – Jonathan Rogers
White Blood Cells in Your Eyes – A. Andrew Joyce
[God has a sense of humor. I mentioned today (well, yesterday) to a friend about being frustrated with blog posts…and now I have one at 2AM. Featured image from unsplash. The magic hour applies to photography and the mingling of time and eternity both…]