To Be Seen
I've spoken before about the many teens that live at my house. At any moment, we have anywhere from 2 - 20 teens that hang out here. Many eat and sleep here, too. One has been with us since Thanksgiving when we learned he was living in his car. Recently my mom came for a visit and asked us, "what do these kids' parents say about them staying here all the time?" The sad truth is that, while some of them have very loving, attentive parents who we respect, others have parents that don't really notice that they're not home. (Or are relieved not to have to deal with them.) These kids come to us beaten and isolated, feeling invisible and unheard.
We have made the decision to treat every kid with respect no matter what. We let them be without judgment. (Not easy, let me tell you.) And we listen to them. We see them. And for some, it's the first time, we think, that they've ever been truly seen and heard. And the more they're seen and heard (not just by us, but by each other, too), the more they blossom. They feel empowered and they see the many options life has laid out before them.
Who can you see today? Who needs to be heard? Be eyes and ears for them. You will be blessed for it.
Narrative Lectionary Text: Psalm 139
O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it.
Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night’,
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed.
How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
I try to count them—they are more than the sand;
I come to the end—I am still with you.
O that you would kill the wicked, O God,
and that the bloodthirsty would depart from me—
those who speak of you maliciously,
and lift themselves up against you for evil!
Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
I hate them with perfect hatred;
I count them my enemies.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my thoughts.
See if there is any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.