It’s that middle place for children, right after self-awareness and just before it’s singed with pride and embarrassment: When they look back at you after a great or terrible act with a question in their eyes, “Did you see that?” Of course, this carries far past the little years, but there is this short period of time where their need to be seen is so… seen. They threw a ball! Did you see that? They pushed their brother. Did you see that? Their chubby little fingers stacked the third block and it didn’t fall—head turns and eyes grow: Did you see that?
Our seeing their accomplishment actually completes it for them. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? They feel at home in our gaze; they feel like a whole person with our eyes on them. To be seen is to be. We would be fools to think that we somehow grew out of this basic human need. We’ve just figured out how to shade our eyes so that no one sees us looking around, trying to catch another’s gaze: “Did anyone see that?”
Longing to Be Seen
We can feel this sorely, though not solely, as mothers—when every part of our body and brain and soul just needs to lie down, and we can’t even remember what made us so tired in the first place. We hurt from loving, we ache from longing, and no matter how affirmative our husbands might be, we can still feel unseen. (Is anyone watching me make four lunches at once?) We may (I have) turn to sharing our moments on social media. Maybe a few hundred hearts and thumbs will quench this thirst. Maybe a comment of solidarity will pick me up off the ground. But it can’t last, can it? I can’t hold that person’s face in my hands and fix their gaze forever.
It’s not just the hard moments that we wish for others to see—like when two people need their bottoms wiped at the exact same time (always, always… law of nature!). But it’s the beautiful moments, too: when your baby hugs your leg and says, “I love you!” for the first time, unprompted. Oh, did anyone see that?! And so, like I experienced as a young mother, our brains can spiral down into a philosophical depression—is my life of motherhood the proverbial tree that falls in the forest? Do these common, everyday moments mean anything outside of someone’s gaze?…
If I asked, “Who are you discipling in the workplace?” how would you respond? Are you thinking, “Should I even be discipling in the workplace? Shouldn’t discipleship happen in the church? What if I am a full-time mom?”I had similar thoughts over the years. I prided myself in being able to compartmentalize my work-life and church-life. I heard of evangelism in the workplace but discipling in the workplace was a foreign concept until I spent three years in Cambodia on medical missions. There I heard our team leader preach that discipleship began with evangelism when Jesus first evangelized his future disciples from the fishing industry in the Gospels. Since then, God has been growing a heart for discipleship not only with women in the church, but even with pharmacy students and coworkers.Opportunities to Share of ChristI always felt something was amiss while training future pharmacists to become good clinicians. During my first year as a faculty member, I had three students—a Muslim, a Buddhist, and a Jewish student—assigned to me for six weeks. At the end of the rotation, one student asked, “Dr. Jun, you seem to have a lot of peace. Where does that come from?” Inwardly, I was so happy to be asked this, but outwardly, all I could say was, “uhm, you know…” Regrettably, I failed to give an answer for the hope that was in me.While my actions may have brought about curiosity, I failed to use my words to communicate the Gospel. I was not prepared and was ashamed to disclose that I was a Christian at work.
PAMELA WELLS|GUEST October 31, 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the day Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door at Wittenberg Castle Church. If there was ever a year that our Reformation heritage ought to outshine other October 31st rituals, this is it! How are you planning to celebrate? You could reflect on… Read More
STEPHANIE HUBACH|CONTRIBUTOR “Oh! You’re Tim’s Mom!” (Or, with the alternative eyebrow raising intonation: “Oh! You’re Tim’s Mom!”) Cart Man Many people in our town know my youngest son, Tim. Often, Tim is recognizable because he has Down syndrome—and there aren’t that many people in Ephrata, PA who are recipients of that “noticeable extra little something”… Read More