How to really See a Person


We stand at the window and look over the snow-strewn landscape. The dome of our state capitol building gleams in the forefront and its gold leaf shimmers against the backdrop of powdered sugared trees sprinkled on the hills. 
“It sure makes a pretty picture,” I say, writing poems in my mind.  
But this one says nothing, sitting still in the wheelchair, lost inside the head. 
This one had an accident and the legs no longer work. 
And I’ve dealt with angry patients, and patients who lie, and ones who want to do it their own way because they have been loved well. But the hardest ones are these—the quiet ones. So many times I’ve wondered what kind of patient I would be and I let my mind linger there as we settle into the stillness like a snowflake melting into the earth. 
I don’t know that I would have the grace of these people—the ones who suffer my invasions and probing questions. I don’t know that I would be a favorite. 
I think too much. 
I am thinking this as I wheel this one back to the room. I think about how Jesus put himself in my place and how he asks me to do this same thing every day. Some days I am too consumed with myself to do this hard thing that he asks. But today, when I heed this command, my heart becomes glass—a fragile mirror of ice, melting. 
Maybe one moment will not matter. Maybe it will not make a difference inside the accumulation of time that make up the spread of days. But I must live as if it will. So when I look at this one, I am looking at myself; I am looking at Jesus. 
And at least one heart is changed because of the way I choose to see.

Comments

  1. Dawn Paoletta says

    The picture is beautiful. Your thoughts are also so thought provoking. Don’t know how you do it, Laura, but God is in it and you know it, and yet it is still a beautiful baffling mystery. I don’t really get any of it. Bless you for your courage in Him.

  2. SimplySurrender says

    “But the hardest ones are these—the quiet ones”… Yes, this right now speaks volumes. I am in this place of learning to live an extrovert life with my introvert bent. Learning to lay down the safety of me for the glory of Him.
    (PS…I’ve seen those broken, empty eyes – memories of time spent in my neuro-rehab days. Hard grace is found there.)

  3. Nancy Sturm says

    This is so beautiful. How fortunate these patients are to have you work with them–so many only see the outside shell of the soul within. You have some amazing imagery in this post. I especially love, “powdered sugar trees,” “settle into the stillness like a snowflake melting into the earth,” and “my heart becomes glass–a fragile mirror of ice, melting.” Please keep thinking and affecting hearts.

  4. Amy Hunt says

    “But I must live as if it will.” yes, indeed, friend. Yes, indeed. We must live as if it all matters. And I think it does. Because He calls us to that moment. Simply that.

  5. Mia says

    Dear Laura
    Sometimes I think we need these dear disabled people to learn how to truly love. If people are like me, we soon realize that without God’s love filling our hearts, we cannot love anyone like Jesus, including loving ourselves as far as respect goes. Laura, our Pappa has been teaching me a lot about how I used to do so many things for others and how I tried my utmost to let my left hand be totally ignorant of what my right hand was doing. But deep in my heart, I was the one keeping score of all my “good” works. He showed me that this is not love; it is selfishness and without Him loving through me, this is exactly the way I would stay.
    Blessings XX
    Mia

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