The gymnasium filled with people. It was the only place big enough to hold the numbers of people gathered to celebrate the life of this particular individual. The floor of the gymnasium was covered so not to be tainted by the heels of those who walked the floor. The mood was somber, yet joyful. The scent was a mixture of a high school basketball team and the smell of women’s perfume.
People would greet, hug and exchange stories. And, they would give each other that look. You know, the look you give another when you both know all is not right, but you smile anyway. Others were silent. Others cried.
The service started with music, grand overtures making poignant statements of adoration and belief. The pastor took the stage and invited those most precious to tell stories. Their voices filled the room evoking laughter and tears. Memories were shared along with sentiments of all this person had meant. Encouragements and edifications echoed. Words the individual longed to hear while alive, only spoken now that they were no more. Ironic really. The life that gathered all these people was one that often wondered if her life made a difference.
This service was the confirmation that she was seen. It evidenced the fact that her life counted and that she was loved, but it was an after thought.
This memorial, my own.
A scene that played out in my mind over and over again through out high school and college. I often day dreamed of my own funeral, not because I wanted to be dead, but because I wanted to know that I was seen.
Being seen is a longing most women, I’d venture to say all women, hold. Being seen is at the core, the greatest place to be and the lack of being seen is a fear that ravages the hearts and imaginations of women.
It is a fear that this woman holds.
While I no longer fantasize about make believe memorial services, I do want to know my life counts. I want to know I matter in the lives of others. I want to know that I am seen and loved. I do not long for this because I lack being seen, I long for this because I am human. I long to be seen because I have an enemy who constantly taunts me with the idea that my life doesn’t matter. Many days I recognize the lie, but too many days I get swept up by it and live to be seen and approved of by man. This is the secret I’ve kept and is the place where I’ve needed Jesus to meet me in the cobwebs and speak truth into the darkness of the unspoken.
The truth Jesus has brought me, when I’m haunted by this particular secret, is that I am seen and known by a Good and Glorious King, who is my Father. He not only sees me, He loves me. El Roi, is a name for God found in the Old Testament. The name literally means, the God who sees. This God is the same God whose name is also love.
My longing to be seen was placed with in me, by the one whose name is (to paraphrase) I see you.
Today, my truth is that I long to be seen. Today my truth is also that I am.
As you read, I pray that you are reminded that you too are seen. You are known. Your life has substance. When you are tempted to imagine inflated encouragements and make believe memorial services, I pray that you know the truth that your life matters. I pray that you will receive the gift given to you by a God who sees you and loves you.I pray that as you are seen and loved by God, that you will see and love others around you.
Go in peace.