Tuesday, February 14, 2017
The grand decoder of disguises
My mom saw things that never appeared to the rest of us.
My mom was a violinist, passionate about her music from when she was a very little girl. And not until she passed away twelve years ago at the age of 83, did I find out from one of her violin students that my mom had the gift of synesthesia. When she played music, she had the ability to see colors associated with the notes. She did not just hear. She saw something completely different.
I never knew that.
What I did know was that my mother was the lover of people. And as with her music, she saw something completely different when she walked into a room.
My mom could see the refugees, the strangers, the estranged, the desperately lonely, no matter how they were disguised. Just like Sherlock Holmes could sense a person's story from near-invisible details, mom could decode hearts. It didn't matter whether it was the struggling single mom bussing tables at Old Country Buffet or a wealthy socialite who threw elaborate parties in a mansion. Mom could not just pick them out, no matter how concealed, no matter how altered the appearance; she would seek them out. She had an innate awareness of others, whether they were the life of party or standing on the outskirts. She often told me that the least likely of all were most often the loneliest.
We used to say, "It didn't matter if it was the maid at a motel or the Queen of England, Mom didn't see people any differently." She just loved on them however she could. She paid attention to them. She responded to their carefully disguised crushed spirits and invisible desperations. She listened to their stories.
It made those who drew social lines in the sand very uncomfortable. It made others feel incredibly loved. Mom never knew. She didn't even see those distinctions either.
And in her own loneliness, she did not cry out for attention. But she reached out to others. "We are surrounded by lonely people," she would say. "No lack of people to love." We are all sojourners here (Deuteronomy 10.19). Don't ever forget it.
The two greatest commandments are seamlessly woven together: love God and love others. When I love God, He changes me. I see other people differently, because I am not looking at myself.
Someone is standing right in front of you with huge gaping and probably invisible needs, most likely someone you would least suspect, given appearances. They may need a favor done, an errand run, a meal taken, or they just may need you.
It does matter. It matters a lot. You matter. You matter a lot.
"...for I was hungry and you gave Me food,
I was thirsty and you gave Me drink,
I was a stranger and you welcomed Me,
I was naked and you clothed Me,
I was sick and you visited Me,
I was in prison and you came to Me."
Then the righteous will answer Him,
"Lord, when did we see You hungry
and feed You,
or thirsty and give You drink?
And when did we see You a stranger
and welcome You,
or naked and clothe You?
And when did we see You sick
or in prison and visit You?"
And the King will answer them,
"Truly, I say to you,
as you did it to one
of the least of these my brethren,
you did it to Me."
Matthew 25. 35-40
I think mom saw that too.