Wednesday, September 06, 2023

Eyes to See

I'm someone who tends to keep to myself, especially in social situations where 
I often find myself searching for the exit door.
Although I genuinely love getting to know people
I'm not always jazzed about social activities. 
I know that interacting with others is necessary in life, 
especially as we try to be more like Christ.
So, I try to engage with people in my neighborhood, 
at barre, in the kids' carpool lines, and in my church family.
And I'm OK at it because, like I said,  I genuinely love people.
I guess I just don't love hanging out.

When I shift my focus on serving the Savior,
It's not so overwhelming.
I may not be super outgoing and fun, but I am pretty good
at talking to people, and some of my past experiences have helped me to 
connect on a deeper level, and I'm pretty good at listening.

I love the story that Sister Michelle Craig told about
how she prayed to know how she could better see others 
and connect with them the way God sees them.
She received the answer to her prayer that she needed to 
stop looking at her phone while she's waiting in lines.
She went on to share a story that has touched me deeply,
and I've shared it on my blog before, and it's worth re-sharing.

"Looking at my phone in lines had become almost automatic; 
I found it a good time to multitask, catch up on email, 
look at headlines, or scroll through a social media feed.
The next morning, I found myself waiting in a long line at the store. 
I pulled out my phone and then remembered the impression I had received.
 I put my phone away and looked around. 
I saw an elderly gentleman in line ahead of me. 
His cart was empty except for a few cans of cat food. 
I felt a little awkward but said something really clever like,
 "I can see you have a cat." He said that a storm was coming, 
and he did not want to be caught without cat food. 
We visited briefly, and then he turned to me and said, 
"You know, I haven't told anyone this, but today is my birthday." 
My heart melted. I wished him a happy birthday and offered 
a silent prayer of thanks that I had not been on my 
phone and missed an opportunity to truly see and connect 
with another person who needed it.

With all of my heart I do not want to be like the priest or the 
Levite on the road to Jericho—one who looks and passes by.
But too often I think I am.

Jesus Christ sees people deeply. He sees individuals, their needs, 
and who they can become. Where others saw fishermen, sinners, 
or publicans, Jesus saw disciples; where others saw a man 
possessed by devils, Jesus looked past the outward distress, 
acknowledged the man, and healed him.

Even in our busy lives, we can follow the example of Jesus 
and see individuals—their needs, their faith, 
their struggle, and who they can become.

Throughout my life, I've often felt guilty and the need to 
say sorry for turning down parties and get-togethers.
But I'm not my best in those situations.
I serve best at the grocery store, asking random people 
about themselves and sharing my love for Christ, just like
Sister Craig did; maybe that's why this story touched me so much.
I'm good at that.
And I'm finally starting to recognize the importance of my meager,
but unique contributions because I can give and serve 
in my own ways, but most importantly,  I can pray for eyes to see,
and the Lord will bless me with ways that I can best help 
succeed at serving His children.

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