Word of the Week

Word of the Week: Seen

Want to share this with someone?

Can you remember the last time you felt unnoticed? Accomplished something big at work and no one said thank you . . . No one remembered your birthday . . Chores completed around your house for the hundredth time and your partner offered you no praise . . .

To this experience, enter this week's word: seen.

Seen is defined as something has been looked at or noticed.

I'm intentionally choosing this word of the week in the past tense because there's something significant about the act of "seeing" accomplished.

For all of us know, when we are seen by others and when we are not, don't we? Our black and brown brothers and sisters are teaching us much through the words "Black Lives Matter" about how we must see them anew.

For if we are seen, we feel welcomed. If we are seen, we feel loved. If we are seen, we feel appreciated. Without feeling seen, we have none of these gifts.

Recently, my husband and I watched season 4 of Netflix's series,"The Crown." Though we know it's part documentary and part fictionalized, we couldn't help but find ourselves engulfed in the storylines as if we've never viewed anything about the British monarchy before.

As this particular season directed viewers attention to the courtship, marriage the fall-out between Prince Charles and Princess Diana in the 1980s, I couldn't help but feel deep sadness on the part of both of the characters. Both were miserable. Both were stuck in lives bound by duty that they'd rather give up. Both felt unseen by so many around them.

You could summarize so much of their pain by what happens when you grow up and move through adulthood without being seen.

The people they hoped would love them unconditionally did not. Eyes of beloved ones did not light up when they came in the room. No one asked them if they were OK (and really meant it) as Megan Markle's New York Times Op Ed recently unpacked.

So this week, I'm wondering how you can be a giver of the gift of "seen"?

How can you slow down (even with all the stuff going on in your life) and take time to SEE the joy or the pain of someone close to you?

How can you ask someone "Are you OK?" and stay around long enough to hear whatever they offer?

We all have burdens, of course. We all have boundaries we need to uphold and limitations to our time. But with the resources we DO have, how can we engage in the ministry of helping someone feel seen?

You'll have no idea how you'll impact the lives of those you take time to really notice.