In The Book of Awakening Mark Nepo writes, “For centuries, African Bushmen have greeted each other this way. When the one becomes aware of his brother or sister coming out of the brush, he exclaims, ‘I See You!’ and then the one approaching rejoices, ‘I Am Here!’”
What a simple but deeply profound way to greet one another. Do we really “see” each other? I don’t mean with the eyes in our head as much as with the eyes of our heart. When was the last time you really looked into the eyes of the clerk who checked you out at the grocery store? When was the last time you looked into the eyes of your spouse or other family member when you said “Good morning?” Did you see well enough to notice what he or she was wearing for the day? Or, did you just give a passing glance, like I am so often guilty of, and go on your way?
It is so easy to get wrapped up in our own little worlds and agendas as we hurry from here to there. We may think we see, but I invite you to look deeper, to really see with the eyes of your heart. Look deeply into the eyes of the one before you. Someone once said that the eyes are the window of the soul. If you look deep enough you might see pain behind that smile. You might see fear behind the anger. You might see insecurity and trepidation behind the bravado.
We all want to be seen. We all need to be seen, to be looked at with eyes of compassion, acceptance and love. Really seeing someone for who they are can bring out the best in them. It can free them to be more truly themselves when they know someone else accepts them as they are. It can give them courage, hope, and a sense of self-worth. We never know how much that simple act can affect others and how much it might make a difference in their lives.
If you are blessed to have at least one person in your life who really “sees” you, think about how you feel in his or her presence. Perhaps you feel validated, understood, affirmed, worthwhile. Or maybe he or she makes you feel special, unique, loved, joyful. Give thanks for that person to the One who always “sees” you and become a blessing to someone else longing to be seen.