By: Ginger Hughes
I’m not sure what she saw when she looked at me.
There were no tears. My eyes were no longer swollen or red-rimmed. I was simply standing at the door of the intensive care unit, eyes downcast, waiting for my cousin to join me there.
I glanced up once and saw her looking at me with seemingly sympathetic eyes. She was young, possibly in her early twenties, a nurse’s badge hooked to her jacket.
My gaze had dropped back to the floor; my mind lost in a litany of thoughts when her voice brought my head up. She was standing there in front of me, and with a kind smile said, “May I give you a hug? Would that be okay? You look like you could use one.”
The corners of my mouth tilted upward in what was something close to a smile as I replied, “Of course. Thank you.”
Earlier in the week, I’d booked a room at a hotel close to the hospital, so I’d have access to a shower and a place to change clothes. I walked up to the front desk to ask a question; a lady named Vanessa was there to greet me. She answered my questions and then said this, “Would it be alright if I give you a hug? You look like you could use one.”
“Yes, of course,” I replied while thinking to myself how strange it was to have two random hugs in less than a weeks time. She walked around the desk and hugged me as if we’d been friends for years.
What did she see?
What did the nurse see?
If our eyes are truly a window to the soul, then perhaps mine reflected worry or sadness. Maybe they looked lost or tired, lonely even. And maybe it doesn’t really matter what they saw.
Perhaps the only thing that matters is that they DID see. And my heart was touched because they did.
Our lives are often so fast-paced and chaotic that we forget to notice people. We become so busy with our personal stories, our struggles, our jobs, and our families that we fail to see anyone else.
At times, we’re in such a rush we hardly glance at the person in front of us in the checkout line. We barely look up at the coworker we pass in the hallway. We don’t really look into the eyes of the person sitting beside us at church.
How much have I missed along the way because I’m either too busy or too distracted to SEE people?
In our rush, who are we missing?
In our self-absorption, who are we not seeing?
The gospels are full of stories of Jesus seeing people who were frequently overlooked by others. He saw Zacchaeus in the tree. He saw the woman at the well. He saw the widow who dropped those two copper coins in the coffer.
Jesus was busy. He was continually teaching, ministering, and helping others. Yet He always made time to look into the eyes of those around Him, to see past the façade and into the heart.
And my prayer, friends, is that we may do the same.