Who do you think you see?
We take this word for granted, no? To see. I see you.
One of the most powerful sentences I have ever heard arrived while on a date with my partner when she said to me, “I see your heart.”
This morning, I saw dolphins riding waves and leaping out of them. How do you explain that to someone? There is only one way to really experience this, there’s only one of our senses that captures the feeling of this event. To see.
Now, to see each other, we don't have to get lucky and be at the beach at first light on a random Thursday to be blessed with sunrise and dolphins. We are everywhere. We see each other all the time. Do we take this for granted? Do we see each other? We notice, we nod, we might even smile. But to see and be seen requires more.
To see each other, and be seen by each other, requires time.
We start with the eyes, and then we have to spend time seeing what is there. We’re all really good at hiding the good and interesting bits about ourselves. To see the good in each other, we have to stare to see both literally and figuratively. And we have to allow ourselves to be seen.
Seeing as how there's only so long we can stare at someone before we freeze, figurative staring is probably best.
Or, we might go right at it and host steering contests on street corners with everyone we know and meet. Could be a fun social experiment, no?
But to see, to really see, requires us to look beyond what the eyes record. The eyes introduce us to the world and to each other. They call our attention to some thing, but this first act of seeing merely creates an opening. We must step into that space to really see, and appreciate what it is we're seeing.
So when we tell someone we see them, and they are made to feel that we really see them, what are we saying? What are we communicating?
One of my favorite quotes comes from the comedian Rob Delaney: “The currency of love is focused attention.” So when we tell someone we see, when we demonstrate this, we are really communicating love. And this is a selfless love at that, because if I see you completely, I can't spare one ounce of energy on anything else, least of all myself.
Who do you think you see? Spend time staring at them (I'll leave the literal or figurative part up to you). How will you let them know they've been seen? That you see them? How will you demonstrate this vision before you?
And if we spend more time seeing each other, maybe we become more comfortable being seen by each other.