Friday, July 29, 2016
Behind the Eyes
We've often heard them called "windows to the soul". How often have we found this to be true? Do we regularly evaluate the condition of one's inner being by their ocular orbs? Doubtful. I find that I regularly miss this tell in most people, either through my own lack of attention to detail or through their proficiency in the construction of the facade. I wish I could read people better, but there are those who simply do not wish to be read. Flip the coin.
How often have we worked to hide the inner churning, mask the building agitations, or simply quell the internal pain by painting on the smile, putting on 'the face', praying all the while that our eyes do not belie the tempest beneath? Do we lack trust in those around that we should expose our weaknesses safely? Perhaps we seek to avert confrontation, preferring a boiling emotional state over an honest confrontational discourse.
Perhaps we simply do not value the other person enough to desire to know what their motives, thoughts, ideas, or opinions are. After all, to be armed with this knowledge is to then be required to potentially yield our own in difference in the name of loving others and this is difficult. Worse, perhaps we do not wish to participate in another's trials, sufferings, or cares or even share our own. We become content with "How are you?" and "I'm fine, you?" answered by "Doing great!" when one or more of the participants have no intention of laying open truths or realities. To do so is to expose soul and fiber of being, sensitive and raw existence. This is living where no one goes...
Except He did.
Very recently some dear friends had a visitor from another nation stay with them. This visitor was a child, an orphan participating in a visitation program to partner prospective interested adoptive families with children who have either never known family or have lost every resemblance of it. This child was loved on, cherished, and blessed in every way that our friends could think of while staying with them. This child was beautiful and amazing and we were so happy to have gotten to spend a small amount of time with them simply because our friends were hosting.
As part of the program, there are several opportunities for the children to come into contact with prospective families during their time in the U.S. This child had those opportunities, but the few families that showed potential interest quickly retracted their inquiries once they either met the child or found out about the medical issues this child is currently dealing with. Some of them are visible. Some are general cognitive delays common to children who have spent extensive time in orphanage or foster systems. In short, when confronted with this child's appearance and potential challenges, most turned from the opportunity before them denying this child a home and potentially a future.
This saddened me greatly. It saddened me as a father who has adopted a child from an abuse and trauma background, knowing how life altering and life-saving this opportunity was. It saddened me as I recognized some of the issues at hand as being significant, but manageable in our country's health care systems - some of which we had actually overcome in our own adoptive son's health and well being. It saddened me for the families who missed out on the most rewarding experience they will ever know this side of heaven because adoption is as close to the model of heaven as anything I've witnessed on this earth.
It saddened me because fear won out against love. It saddened me because if these people could just look past this child's immediate problems, look past their immediate challenges - if they could just look intently past this child's eyes they would see the value and beauty of the person beneath. And then it saddened me because I knew I was guilty of the very same thing on a regular basis. Many of us are.
We are each of us beautiful and amazing souls, "fearfully and wonderfully made". This dermis, these fabrics, the metal wheeled containers we transport ourselves in, the brick and wooden cubes we inhabit - none of these place additional or detract value from the created beauty of each and every one of us.
Some of us are regularly depositing earnings into checking accounts. Some of us are raising children. Some of us are reaching for our brothers and sisters, some of us are homeless, some of us are alone. None of us are worthless or deemed too great a cost to pursue, for He pursued each of us to the ultimate cost to self. He calls us to do likewise.
But this cannot be done at distance. This cannot be done impersonally, safely, or remotely. It cannot be done without involvement in another human's life, love, and pain. I am fortunate to know several who are half a world away at the time of this writing, who (along with their families) have undergone sacrifice and cost to do just that; touch another human heart to show love - His love. They are currently experiencing the greatest of joys staring deeply into brown eyes, sharing heartaches, laughter, songs, and prayers with many who we in this nation would call destitute, but who are far more wealthy than can be calculated by the temporal. I wish I were with them.
But I don't have to be.
Opportunities surround each of us daily. They are in the co-worker who continually walks under a raincloud. They are in the foul-mouthed man you try to avoid. They are in the needy and the homeless crowding the local relief shelters. They are even in the church seat next to you.
The paradigm shift is yours to make. Will you remain safe, comfortable, and distant? Or will you engage and find out who is behind the eyes?
Posted by Joshua Mikeworth