I had not seen Sandy in perhaps ten years. But I immediately knew something was not right. Maybe it was the dullness in her eyes. Perhaps the slowness of her gait. But it was undoubtedly there.
“Are you okay?”, I asked. “You don’t seem okay.” “Thanks for noticing,” she said; “The truth be told I’m feeling kind of invisible.”
A brief chat ensued a bit later, and the problem quickly revealed itself. Ironically, all this took place in the midst of a party, with 45-50 other people within feet of us.
My conversation with Sandy caused me to think back to another, more private one, I had not long ago with Kay. As Kay described a trip she made to the supermarket just a day or two after the death of a close loved one, she too used the word “invisible.” As she wondered the aisles of the store, engulfed in a fog of grief, she also felt unseen.
But in recalling that day, Kay also described a moment of epiphany. An instant that came while standing in the produce aisle staring blankly at the fruits and vegetable unable, in her grief, to make a rational choice of what to purchase. Positioned there, she suddenly realized that people surrounded her without a clue her heart was irrevocably shredded. But it also dawned her that there were almost certainly others in that store, perhaps on that very aisle who were also crushed, but whose pain she could not see.
Not a day has passed since hearing Sandy and Kay’s stories but what I have been more conscious of the people around me. The man in front of me in the checkout line, the person in the car next to mine, the woman across the table from me in a meeting.
The injured, the wounded, the damaged, the abused are there. Often right there. I just don’t always open the eyes of my heart wide enough to see them.
“When your day is long
And the night is yours alone
When you’re sure you’ve had enough of this life, hang on.
‘Cause everybody cries
And everybody hurts sometimes.” (REM, Everybody Hurts).
Even though the source is unconventional, there may never have been more accurate God-words spoken than those. And, the fact is that nothing should define God-people more than the ability to recognize that truth.
“This is what I want you to do…Weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.” -God
-Just Musing. Not Preaching. Shalom.