I sat wondering, "if I walked out, would they even notice".
A genuine feeling, I'm not privy to, very often.
A sanguine, by nature, I'm not usually the wall flower, although I do love a good "people watch" , every once in a while. I have been known to sit back, contented with someone else's shining light, being the main event.
But, the majority of the time, I can work a room, most pleased with "the more, the merrier" mentality, and hardly ever wonder if my presence has become invisible.
After that event, I did some hard core self-reflection - which, in of itself, is a stretch, for me. What was it about those circumstances that sprouted in me a concern that I had been forgotten? Conversations had found their beginning and ending, without me voicing one word. Topics were discussed I had zero experience or opinion towards. And, when I did feel the urge to share a story, it was immediately met with an interrupting tidbit, as if to remind me, "this is our show, not yours".
Several years ago, my word for the year was beacon. We had recently named our home, The Beacon House, given an encouragement, from a friend, of the visual our home created of a lighthouse to people in need. That year was full of exploring what a beacon is useful for. Obviously, the lighthouse analogy was the most common - sending up flares of provision, to those in crises or pain. But, I began to also explore the idea of a beacon casting the light out, instead of bringing those in. And, almost immediately, my eyes were opened to being the type of person who sees people.
I guess that is why my recent feeling of invisibility hit such a strong cord with me, amid its very foreign acquaintance. I have made it a mission to attempt to move past what concerns me, affects me, relates to me, and see those around me. But, seeing them doesn't necessarily change their perspective, until I tell them they are seen. They matter. They are significant. They are enough.
What's beautiful about my recent encounter is that in the midst of that single experience, I was sent two messages - unrelated, yet most significant - that read as such:
You are efficient, organized, responsible, dependable...
You are seen and I truly feel for you...
I smiled, realizing all the apples don't have to fit into one basket. Perspective can be a wicked coach and a soothing teacher.
What kind of implications can something so personal, have for our children?
First off, it's imperative we communicate, to this next generation, what it means to be other-minded. And, a cute little definition card, hung up on the bathroom mirror, will never do the trick. This needs to be something our homes reek of, the aroma wafting through every fiber of our comings and goings. It's extremely difficult to see others, reach in and care, being self-absorbed.
Secondly, it's costly, yet rewarding to communicate what it means to have personal struggles. If our children know and can empathize when we feel hurt, disappointment, fear, even anger, they will begin to transpose that ability to their friends and peers. Sympathy may not get you the most popular seat at the lunch table, but it wins, in human-kindness, every time.
Lastly, it's satisfying to communicate what it means to care before you're cared for. As I reflected back on that incident, that phrase came to my mind. As ridiculous as it sounds, I had felt uncared for. I had been an invited participant into a club, yet stripped of any rights or privileges. But, instead of focusing on what I was not given, I was challenged to give out what I desired, before it was given to me. Regardless if it ever was given to me. What a freeing concept - that I am not bound by the actions of others, instead, capable of living, looking outward, instead of in.
The value of the lesson of disappointment. is life-giving.
Definitely not a popular idea, but if our children can learn the importance that there is significance in being disappointed, but paralysis in remaining there.
See the other person. Reach in. Take action.
A strong character quality will reap benefits that are eternal.