I've been sitting on this for a bit, and thought it was time to share. It was a moment in time where I was able to see outside of myself (my frustration and pain) and see the beauty of human interaction. It uplifted my heart, and while today is just a regular old day, it's nice to remember.
It is amazing how I want to write when it is least convenient. Nevertheless, as I sit here on a plane from Seattle to Chicago, listening to music, reading Children of the Mind, sipping a little bit of wine, my brain is a buzz of written activity. And it is bursting from me, so much so that I can’t even type fast enough.
It all started so simply. I finally had clarity as to why the Ender’s Game series pulls me in so deeply. I was thinking back to a conversation with a friend who was meeting me where I was and where I needed her to be. She sought to understand me, and know me, but not correct or lead me. She showed me this, and in turn, blessed me through it all weekend. Reminding me that people are part of your life, your ‘philotic connection’, when and how they need to be. I don’t know how to communicate that, except through an example. This morning, when I asked her advice of what I was wearing, I didn’t realize until later that I was not asking her to tell me to change, I was asking her to tell me that as I was, I was okay. And she affirmed me, because I think she knew that’s what I really wanted – not the advice, but the affirmation. Too many times, we try to solve each other, when we just really want acceptance of our self.
Fast forward to the airport, where humanity collides and bumps along. When we travel, we seem to change our patterns, somehow this traveling, this movement, changes how we interact (watch us drive; we would never be as mean in real life as this). There is so much to analyze, to witness, to try to understand, to amuse, and to frustrate. As I watch and get a bit frustrated by it all, in the back of me, I yearn to see them as they want to be seen – exactly as this silly book series portrays. To see their true self. To love them as they are and want to be – not the pushy, self-interested people they become in the airport/on the planes.
And then, as I get to board early, and watch the pushing humanity continue to unfold before me, I get the chance to connect with another human – the person that we often overlook, because after all – they are just doing their job, serving us, making us more comfortable, enforcing rules that feel asinine to us. And yet, they are there - human and wonderful, because these are the true observers, the see-ers of the self and the silly.
I did nothing other than converse with her, to show her I had some understanding of her plight and that I saw the struggle of her position. To practice that thing called "kindness". I did not mean all this when I was doing it, but when her co-worker said, “She tells me not to charge you, what did you do?” I thought, I didn’t "do" anything. I was just trying to connect with her, to see her, to show her that I understood her.
To me, it wasn’t much, I grew up with a father whose goal was to make waitresses smile. But I could tell that she was a person to be acknowledged, because people like that should be encouraged to keep on (I mean, it was American Airlines...). So I’d already decided to write to the airline and commend her. So many times, we see the flight attendants who are jaded (and why shouldn’t they be? We don’t always treat them as they should be treated – it’s a hard, thankless job – where you are mostly noticed when things go wrong).
And I as I was thinking about this, I realized she beat me too it, she showed me kindness, when that was what I wanted to do for her. And in that moment, I felt overwhelmed by love and by a feeling of love for others. This was all happening as I continued to read, as the book was depicting Jane moving to see the world through new eyes, and the understanding that came and moved through her new knowledge. I feel like I also received the most lovely gift of seeing people through cleansed eyes, with #nofilter.
It is a powerful, extremely moving experience to look at people, as God must see them. As unique and wholly deserving individuals. So wonderfully made in His image, formed as unique creatures. At that point, the circle became complete in my mind. My understanding of how I want to see people, as they want to be seen, coincides with how I believe God sees them. As they are. And in that moment, I felt blessed.
It was so beautiful. The power and emotion of it overwhelmed me. For the second time reading this book, I cried. The first time for the loss of a character that I had somehow connected with, the second time for the beauty of seeing people as I imagine he (Ender) saw them. Through all their imperfections, it was overwhelming. Too much to hold, even now, I’m only remembering the memory, and not feeling that full passion that was “it” at the time. I don’t even think I could hope to want it back, as I don’t know if I am enough to hold it. But I do hope that I am enough to act it out as I saw it. To not be blinded by people’s imperfections, but to see them as they deserve to be seen.
Alright, I'll get off my soapbox. But the next time you find yourself frustrated and judgey, try flipping your view and seeing what is beautiful and possibly hurting in the person. You'll doing little for them, and everything for yourself.