I read a lovely post today from one of my favorite bloggers….talking about potential….the potential of others to influence our lives…..
I am finding that one of my gifts is seeing potential….As a fifth grade teacher…I peddle potential on a daily basis.
Yet it was a quote by a guy named C.S. Lewis that stuck out to me……
It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship…There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.
It made me think deeply about some people I have met lately….I hear the stories of my hair dresser and another friend in my head…..
I sat in the chair at the hair dresser’s shop and listened. I listen a lot better now in my life…it is a result of opening up and being vulnerable. Everyone’s stories are much more interesting to me now. I just cannot seem to hear enough. I love knowing that everyone has a story and a purpose and is loved by God. I can appreciate some of the gifts he has given me…..I see potential….I see who they are….the real them….the truest them…..I don’t always see the broken them. I am working on that. Seeing both is important and healthy.
But this woman…my hairdresser was beautiful. She began telling me her story….of desire…..the desire to find an honorable man, a man to care for her heart……
That certainly resonated with my heart.
I asked a simple question as she told me about her plan to get on Match in a few months.…….”So….What would you be looking for on Match?”
She told me she was looking for someone she could respect and look up to…..someone with a vision and a purpose. Someone who had a passion for his work and a direction in his life was what she was searching for. She wanted financial stability……a lack of rage and anger…….kindness and a man who would see her heart………
Those were all things I am looking for.
She was a little rough around the edges…..her language was colorful…..she has worked hard and had a life that showed her determination to succeed even in the midst of having a father filled with anger…..and a divorce that rocked her world. She had a first husband who had been an addicted man and a relationship in which her partner ended his life in suicide because the economy had taken worldly things and made a wreck of them…..and on top of this…her father, whom she loved despite his myriad faults, was dying.
Her heart was beautiful. I loved hearing her goals and hearing her talk about what she desired in a man.
My heart was immediately reminded of another person I had met recently…..a friend. He is someone who knew he needed to find a profession to fill his soul……and who seemed to be looking for a relationship with a woman who sees him. He was looking for meaning in his life and a woman to bond with deeply who would respect him and support him in his work. He was looking for someone to love him deeply and connect on the deepest levels with him. His language was colorful, and he was rough around the edges…..
But they were searching for the same thing…..
And they each thought it would be found in a person….a mere mortal. I do not think either of them sees themselves as worthy or beautiful or as a god-like creature.
It is amazing to me…..this quote from C.S. Lewis can change how you see others….
My two friends are going to be worthy of so much more than they ever imagine. If I were to see them unmasked…..as they really are….wholly Holy…..I might be tempted to fall down and worship them…..my mortal senses would be overcome.
In the Power of the Holy Spirit, I am able to glimpse a little of their true natures. She is a beautiful, tender, and giving woman. She loves so deeply and desires to be so giving and open and vulnerable. She took care of my hair and my needs so completely. She desired to serve her father and bring her family together to honor this man even though he has not seen or cared for her heart in all the ways she needed growing up. She was grieved by his impending death and was ready to do anything needed to connect with her father at the end of his life. She honored his second wife as well as her mother….holding the good that both of them had brought to his life without bitterness or hatred. She loved them all and desired that all of them love him in the end well.
My other friend loves his work…..he desires that people eat food that will heal their bodies and not hurt them. He desires to connect and reach someone’s heart. He loves his wonderful parents and his sister and desires that she be taken care of in ways that would honor her and reach her heart in the midst of illness. He is able to see the injustice of a husband that isn’t caring for his sister’s heart, and he is able to see the injustice of animals that are not cared for kindly in a world that should honor the lives of the animals that provide food for us. This man holds a moment of silence before a meal and works with the natural rhythms of the earth and all God created it to do. He is not afraid to take risks and is successful in his field.
My thought was that these two souls…..need to really see themselves. Each of these people doesn’t necessarily see their greatness…..and because of that is having trouble seeing the greatness of those around them.
Recently my counselor gave me homework…..the job of finding out what I bring to a room. My goal growing up was to be invisible. I wanted to be absolutely unseen…so no trouble could come to me….no heartache….no danger. I needed safety and caring and decided as a young girl that being invisible offered all that to me. No one can expect too much and no one could hurt me too much if I was invisible. I would simply be a fly on the wall. I wouldn’t miss anyone, need anyone, desire anything, or take too much.
I could simply be.
Well ….figuring out what you bring to a room is difficult homework when you have been invisible for so long.
I began to have to take stock of seeing my beauty…..what are my spiritual and physical giftings? I have to be prepared to use them and bring them to bear for the Kingdom. Knowing you gifts means being ready to use them and hone them and offer them to the King at a moment’s notice. No longer am I able to pretend I am invisible…..I now have to see clearly what I am able, called, prepared, and made to do….and then do it…..for the Glory of the One who made me.
I am not to be prideful….to pretend that I have no gifts or that I somehow created these gifts through my own doing. Instead…in humility….I have to acknowledge my gifts and use my talents to make my gifts shine even more brightly through discipline, hard work, humility, and generosity. I have to make more of them and offer that more to the King…..the One who made me…..so that I can glorify Him.
It is a strange and humbling thing to walk out of invisibility into who He made me to be. I have no idea……where and how and to what end I am learning all this. I am simply aware that it is happening.
I no longer struggle moment by moment with a notion of worthlessness and invisibility…..
I am now grappling moment by moment with ideas and thoughts such as “How do I serve Him more?…How do I use the gifts He has given me in His kingdom here on earth? How do I begin to shine more brightly by allowing Him to use my gifts with the aid of the Holy Spirit?
I hope these two individuals see themselves in that light. I hope they see their greatness…..their gifts…their holiness that can make them Whole…….and that they shine like the light of a thousand suns. Each of these wonderful people have sin in their lives….just as I do….but they were made for greatness.
I love the CS Lewis quote because even though we are all different…..even when I meet people who are seemingly so different from me…….from the taxi drivers in New York to the man on the subway begging for food…..from my hair dresser to the people I love in Guatemala…….I can begin to appreciate their greatness and look beyond the sinfulness of this broken world. I can begin to see who they really are…..and pray into that for and with them.
It is the same in my fifth grade classroom. I see my students for who they are becoming and are made to be.
I love that I bring something to a room. I am not made for nothing….I am made to reflect the glory of a King so great….a Love so big….that He can take even the broken vessels of clay and turn them into the most magnificent works of beautiful art.
Thank you, God for giving me eyes to see and ears to hear. Your works are marvelous to behold!