This morning I realized something.
My 4 year old son called out: “Mama, look at me!” And he showed me how he could jump on one leg over the bathroom rug. Which didn’t go very well, but he kept trying and wanting to show me.
I remembered all the “Mama, look at!”s I have heard in my life so far, and deep inside me I started to understand where they come from:
More than anything else we want to be seen.
We want to feel connected to the people around us, we want them to see who we are, what we do.
It doesn’t get less when we get older.
It only becomes more painful.
Because we reach out to people that are NOT our Mom and Dad, who know us inside out, and who (hopefully) never stop answering when we show ourselfes.
Now we reach out to strangers. People that we give power over us, a power to decide whether we’re good or bad, beautiful or ugly, genius or only medium or completely useless.
And the worst part: they’re not even aware!
They might say something or not say what we wanted them to say, accidently, without thinking, and our world crumbles.
What a mess!
And it becomes more complicated, because after a while we edit what we show. We’re not only editing for facebook, we are editing for everyone in our life. Only showing the pretty face. With a lot of photoshopping before we put it out there. Keeping the fear and the vulnerability to ourselfes.
How do we expect to be seen, then?
And so we are lonely. We keep reaching out, but we’re never fully satisfied with what we get back. We shout: “Look at me!”, and we show our jumping over bathroom rugs, but maybe no one’s interested and we may never hear “well done!”
We sit down, exhausted, and wonder: why jump if nobody’s looking?
This is what I felt like this morning: Lonely. Exhausted. Wondering: why jump?
…when my 4 year old called out: “Mama, look!!!”
And I looked.
And I saw. And I answered. And I gave him what he needed.
Christian tradition teaches us that giving is more blessed than receiving.
Perhaps we have to learn this all over again, on many levels.
Maybe I have to look even deeper than before. Not ruminating over “who is seeing me? Who is praising me?” It is in our nature that we want to be seen, I know that.
But in times that we’re not seen or heard, it doesn’t mean that there’s nothing left for us to do. We can turn the whole thing around and open our eyes.
It doesn’t have to be about you. You want it to be. But maybe it’s more about what you see. What you look at. About who you see. And what answer you give to them.
So, today, I will turn around to every single “Look at me!!!”, and give.
Give my time, my attention. Mary Oliver writes: “Attention is the beginning of devotion.”
And devotion is a form of love.
And love is what it all comes down to anyway. Right?
And now, please excuse me, my sons want to show me how they ride their bikes…