The woman who arrested my attention was ancient. Clutching a cigarette in one bird-like claw, she waited to cross the street. The black wig she wore reminded me of one my great-grandmother had worn. Its vibrant color and youthful volume made her head appear two sizes too small. However, it was not the wig or the smoke which had snapped me from my internal musings. What caught my eye was that this woman was a superhero.
She was an Amazon princess superhero, to be precise. From her knee-high red boots and shiny star-spangled blue mini skirt to the trademark gold tiara, this woman was a wonder indeed. Thankfully, she had forgone the iconic Wonder Woman bustier. It was apparent that defying gravity was not one of her superpowers as parts of her anatomy had long ago ventured south. I did not note whether she sported the Lasso of Truth, or if she had bulletproof bracelets adorning her wrists. I was driving past and had but a moment to catch the details.
Had she been dressed as her alter ego, I’m sure I wouldn’t have seen her at all. In normal clothing she would be just another nameless, faceless person in the crowd.
Have you ever felt like just another nameless, faceless bit of humanity? I know that I have. Especially as I’ve gotten older. I was startled to realize sometime in my late 30’s that I had become invisible. I could walk through the store or the mall and not once have anyone make eye contact with me. I found it disturbing.
More distressing was the accompanying realization that I often treat others with the same indifference. My eyes are naturally drawn to youthful beauty or the radiance of children, but the vast majority somehow cease to be visible to my casual observance. I became aware that I was ignoring the elderly, cashiers, waitresses, and even fellow church members. Anyone who was not in my circle of comfortable acquaintances simply did not exist for me.
I found this realization horrifying.
Over and over scripture tells us to love others. We are to be the light of the world. People are supposed to be able to see the lavish love of our Lord in our words, our actions, and in our countenance. How can they see all that if we never look at them?
I made a deliberate decision to try to see people. When I walk past an elderly person in the store, I make eye contact and smile. I’m often met with surprised looks and it saddens me to see that they are used to being unnoticed and forgotten. When I go out to eat I look my server in the eye and ask sincerely how their day is going. Again, the startled look that flashes across their faces affirms that this is good and right.
As Christ-followers, we should exhibit a genuine love and concern for our fellow man. We get so caught up in the noise and busyness of our world that we forget this. We believe that being a light for Jesus means doing something grand or flashy and we simply don’t have the time or energy for that. We fail to see that the small acts are just as important. Eye contact, a smile, encouraging words, or taking a moment to pray with someone are all reflections of our God’s love.
The elderly Wonder Woman I saw has effectively fought back against the curse of invisibility. Everyone sees her; they can’t help it. And as beloved children of El Roi, the God Who Sees, shouldn’t we be helpless to do anything but see others?
“Owe nothing to anyone–except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law.” (Romans 13:8, NLT)
“For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!” (Ephesians 5:8, NLT)
I’m linking up at Grace and Truth today. Come on over and join us!