|Theo in the summer in Tucson drinking Mexican coke at El Guero Canelo.|
When we were in seminary (well, I wasn't in seminary. John was. But we LIVED there for 10 years, so I like to say when WE were in seminary. Important to note: the 10 years includes three years as a full-time student, two more as part-time, and 6 years working full time in Admissions and Marketing)I heard a talk by one of the professor's wives about two kinds of people. She said there are "here I am" kind of people, and "there you are" kind of people. She encouraged us to be "there you are" kind of people. You know - the ones who make you feel important, who make you feel seen, who notice you, who don't pretend they don't see you when you are near to each other in the grocery store, the ones who ask about you and remember things you've told them. THAT kind of person.
I used to worry, when I saw someone that I kind of knew out and about, and he or she didn't say hello. My thoughts ran like this: Does she not remember me? But I remember her. Maybe I'm not cool enough for her to remember. Maybe I'm not the type she wants to be friends with!
Then I realized that she might be kind of like me: shy, not sure of herself, worried that I didn't remember her. And then I determined that I never wanted to be the one who didn't say hello, who pretended that I didn't see, who worried about myself. It's okay if I feel embarrassed, like a fool, a little bit humiliated, even. I'd rather be the one who sees, who takes a risk, who reintroduces herself and maybe feels dumb. That's being a "there you are" kind of person.
Note: I want to say that what makes me able to be this kind of person, because it surely does not come naturally to this shy, self-conscious person, is that I know I am fully loved and accepted in Christ. Because I am secure in him and have spent years being drawn into his love for me, I can make a fool of myself for others. This is the only reason.
Also note: There is a great book called Love Walked Among Us by Paul Miller, which details the way that Jesus saw people - he really saw them, their lives, their grief, their thoughts. I'm glad that Jesus sees me, and helps me want to see others.