“You Mean I’m Not Invisible?”

I often write on Saturdays about sitting comfortably on pillows with my coffee. I think because these are the days when I realize I am one of the small percentage of people in the world that has that sort of comfort and luxury. I have time to think about the week and revel in the luxury of time.

Just yesterday I walked past a bruised woman, sprawled on the street, trying to look into people’s eyes and beg for spare change.  She is a regular fixture on the street, just part of the scenery along with store fronts, fruit stands, and vendors selling t-shirts. I’ve had interactions with her before. One time I threw away her shoes, because I thought she wanted them thrown away, only to be screamed at in colorful language (who first termed swear words as colorful in writing anyway??) “Bring me back those %$&#@ shoes!” Thankfully I was able to retrieve them and an unlikely relationship is developing, when she is sober enough to remember me. I turned back after she shouted “Am I invisible?” toward some people walking the other way. As I went back she threw up her hands and said “You mean I’m not invisible?” I laughed “No – you’re not invisible. You’re quite loud!” She laughed too, thanked me for the change and went back to shouting after people.  Another reality check from the city!

I don’t know much about the homeless. It is my daughter Stefanie, a passionate advocate, who has been able to help me understand a bit more about this complicated issue and I plan to have her do a post for me soon. But I think a lot of us know about feeling invisible – as though people look through, not at us. Sometimes, like the homeless woman, we may long to shout out “Am I invisible?”. We feel as if we are insignificant, like ants busy going about their business in the ant world, but stepped on easily by others.

Sitting here, with time to contemplate, I am aware that though I may feel invisible to much of the world around me, I have a Maker and Creator intimately aware of my needs and longing to be a visible presence in my life. To Him, we are fully visible, fully worthy, fully loved.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?~ Matthew 6:26

13 thoughts on ““You Mean I’m Not Invisible?”

  1. A couple of years ago I read a book that gave me a much deeper understanding of homelessness. It’s called “Same Kind of Different as Me” by Denver Moore and Ron Hall. It is an autobiography of the two authors, Denver having been a homeless man and Hall an international art dealer, and recounts in their own words how they came to be friends. From that book I came to understand that people are homeless for a lot of reasons not of their own making. Peace, Linda

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    1. Thanks for the suggestion. It sounds like a great book. I know it is far more complex than many of us would like to make it. Thanks so much for reading and commenting

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  2. What a beautiful reminder from daughter and mother. I have to admit, I was more willing to listen to others in need when I was younger. Nowadays I am enveloped with issues at work, home, friends and family. I love your mom’s statement, “We do need to reach out wherever we can, and to keep our eyes and our hearts open, but always to remember that He is always there, and for any good work to last and bear fruit, He has to be the One to do it, using us or not.”
    Thanks,
    Petra

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  3. thanks, Marilyn for a good “reality” check. I needed that this morning. It reminded me of so many times in Pakistan when I felt so completely helpless to help in the face of such enormity of need. Once during our last few months before we left to come back to the USA when we were living in someone else’s house, I was looking out the back kitchen window. What had been an open field had suddenly filled up with huts, a whole new neighborhood of people as far as I could see. One of those dwellings was only a small distance from our wall, but there was no way to get there from where I was. We had no back gate or door. For a few days i watched a lady going about her daily life, feeding her baby, taking care of a toddler, and an older relative. I never saw a man, but maybe he came home after dark. Every day, after she finished her other work including sweeping her mud floor, she picked up a “rilli”she was making, sewing those tiny hand stitches on small squares of old used material that would become a new quilt, to use or to sell? I would never know. They were so poor, and I had no way to reach them, and what could I have done for them if I had? That little family seemed to symbolize all that I had not managed to do in my years in Pakistan. Then one day I looked out, and they were gone, vanished. The hut was still there, but no charpai in front of it, no cooking pots in the corner, no people. Where had they gone? I stood there in that kitchen window weeping for all the lost people all around me, all over the world and mostly for my own weakness. And i remembered the same verse that you quoted above. Where I am weak and helpless, God is not. And most of all, He reminded me that he cares for poor lost people even more than for birds or flowers or sheep. We do need to reach out wherever we can, and to keep our eyes and our hearts open, but always to remember that He is always there, and for any good work to last and bear fruit, He has to be the One to do it, using us or not.
    This is very long, I should have just made it an email, but here it is anyway. And I had read your “Reality check” post but hadn’t seen the pictures till today. You really captured Boston. I don’t know when we’ll get down, but we really want to.

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    1. Thank you so much for this memory – and sharing it. It reminds me of all the stories that need to be written down from your time in Pakistan. And it’s true, ultimately we aren’t big enough, strong enough, wealthy enough to care for all so the challenge is where to find our place.

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