We were quite the unlikely pair, she and I.
She, dressed in black from head to toe, hid beneath the black hair always covering her face. I, dressed in whatever would cover me the most, hid beneath the face of perfection. She lived in the world where numb was the only available emotion; I lived in the world that never ran out of tears.
We didn't meet in the most ideal of circumstances. In fact, we were both pretty much as far rock bottom as rock bottom can get.
I didn't plan on talking to anyone there. With my face toward the white walls and my chair back against the room, I was pretty much unapproachable.
She found me, nevertheless.
As she sat down at the table and turned her chair toward mine, I was already planning an excuse to hightail it out of there. There were weirdos here, and I wanted nothing to do with any of them. As I formulated my escape plan, she started talking to me.
"What are you doing?"
I'm pretty sure I looked at her like she was an idiot at this point. I mean, how much more obvious could staring at the wall be? Did I need to put up a sign saying, Staring at Wall. Do Not Disturb ? Don t worry though, I appeased her.
"just waiting,i will come to the rec room shortly"
It must have been my charm that encouraged her to keep on talking because she did.
"Why are you here? "
"I have issues."
She sat there for a moment and then said, "Yeah, me too."
Wow. No way! All that time I had been thinking she was there on holiday.
She joined me at that table and never left. Every free moment, she sat there, sharing her story with me. As I listened to her life, I realised that she was not much different than me. Yes, the events were different. Deep down, however, she and I were cut from the same cloth. We both felt invisible in a big, scary world, and we both tried to gain the attention we craved any way we could.
" Sometimes I would give anything for someone to notice me. "
She told me this after showing me her scars. Scars that spoke of deep pain she couldn't even name. Scars that cried out for attention. Scars that wanted to be seen and touched.
Scars that would never take the pain away.
I don't remember her name, or her age, or the amount of siblings she had. I didn't keep the phone number that she stuffed in my hands before I left.
All I remember is her story and its theme.
Her struggle though, is not so foreign. We all want to be noticed. We all want to be seen. None of us want to be invisible, so we gain the attention any way we can. Some of us act out, holding the belief that any attention is better than no attention at all. Some of us chase perfection, believing that it will fill all of our needs. Some of us cling in desperation to every person we know, terrified of that moment they decide we are not worthy enough to be seen. Some of us create hopeless situations that warrant the need of a savior.
And we wait and wait and wait for that savior to come only he never does. The human hero will never be able to save you, no matter how fancy his hero cape.
As i think back of this girl, i can only wish that my head was in a place that was able to share some good news with her. If only i could have told her that there was someone who saw her in the midst of her pain, and that He was waiting for her to stop chasing human heroes and look to Him. The He bore our scars so we would have no need for our own. Scars that spoke of her pain. Scars that spoke of her own hopelessness. Scars that speak of the victory He had won for her.
The truth is, we all struggle with wanting to be seen. We all fear becoming invisible. Some of us just go farther for attention than others. Some of us go all the way to rock bottom, and those of us who have been there can testify that even rock bottom will not make a difference.
God sees you, no matter where you are.
Think of Hagar, the unseen woman who said of God, You are the God who sees me (Genesis 16:13). Think of David, who again and again thanked God for seeing him and rescuing him from the pit. Think of Paul, who lived with absolute assurance that God saw him and knew him. Think of Jesus, confident and secure in the knowledge that He was loved and seen by the Most High God.
Now, I don t know where the girl I met in the ward is today, but God knows. He sees her, and He feels her pain. Where I, as a human, could not heal her, He can. He can go in and heal her wounds from the inside out.
And He will.