A LESSON FROM TV
My favorite TV shows to watch in France are the dubbed American series. The voices they choose and the slight changes they make to conversations in French offer endless amounts of entertainment. My latest guilty pleasure is Monk, the old series about a man with OCD who solves crimes with incredible accuracy.
However, Monk has been more than a language lesson for me these days. Every episode demonstrates how Mr. Monk sees what no one else can see. Of course, he is a fictional character, but he notices what others ignore. He perceives what others overlook.
We need more people like Monk, people who really examine the world around them. More specifically, we need people who pay attention to other people.
SEEING WHAT’S HARD TO SEE
My work invites me to see individuals on the streets who aren’t noticed by most. Cars may pass by late at night to consider buying what’s being sold or to hurl insults at those for sale. Sadly, the people on the streets are visible only as objects or as a nuisance to the neighborhood.
They are so much more than what some choose to observe. They are precious people not products. They are souls not sale items.
When a team of us go out late at night, distributing coffee and offering assistance, we witness that which isn’t always enjoyable. However, recognizing the painful problems also means beholding the beautiful souls hidden in difficult scenarios. The night is a treasure trove of diamonds in the rough.
THE GOD WHO SEES
There is tremendous comfort in knowing that, like Hagar’s distressing circumstances in Genesis 16, “the God who sees” has his eye on men and women who are trafficked or trapped by circumstances that brought them to the streets. God’s loving regard is on those who the world often overlooks.
If we are to be more like our savior, and maybe even a bit like Mr. Monk, we must see what isn’t easy to see. We are invited by God to catch a glimpse of the beauty in the souls made in his image in our community today. We are called to acknowledge the humanity around us despite our busy schedules.
Seeing isn’t just believing. Put much more simply, seeing is noticing, recognizing and paying attention to what is around us. Perhaps truly seeing humanity is the greatest gift we can offer others today. They are not a means to an end. The simple gift of seeing, really seeing, people on the streets late at night validates their humanity and offers love. We see them; God sees them, too.
I pray we will be better humans this week. I pray we will notice those around us. May we look into the eyes of a stranger and say hello. May we pay attention to those we encounter. Love requires that we see those around us.