Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Seeing Invisible People

I had a very interesting day yesterday.  I had a counseling appointment and I was early.  In the building there is a prayer room.  I had never had time to enter into it before.  As I went in, I felt a peace and a calm within my soul.  I spent about 15 minutes there, reading some of what other people had left behind, looking and praying.  I had a wonderful counseling session afterwards.

I had to get dog food and found I was too tired to drive home.  I went into a local sandwich shop and had a snack.  As I was sitting there, reading the local paper and eating, a man stopped and started a conversation with me.  I was a bit taken aback, but he looked harmless and after all, I was inside a shop with people all around me. 

He started to talk about newspapers and how he had worked for many different ones over the years.  He had written lots of articles, published his church's newsletter, and done many other things associated with newspapers.  It was interesting to talk to him and mostly I listened. 

He began to tell me his story.  He had been the victim of a vicious mugging that left him near death.  He had a profound awakening and decided to live his life for God instead of people.  He had not been a believer before his mugging.  He shared about his experience and his life since.  His wife has cystic fibrosis and had he died, she would have been sent to a nursing home.  He wears a hat due to all the scarring on his head from his many surgeries.  He has limited use of his right hand, but is thankful for every day now here on earth.  He is happy to be caring for his wife, even though he has to walk everywhere as his license was revoked. 

As I listened to his story, I was overcome with joy.  He shared his faith walk, his views, and mostly just wanted to be heard.  He had so much to share and was so open and honest.  And yet, to the casual eye, he "looked normal".  He looked "well".   And God spoke to me through him.  There are so many people who have a bigger story to tell.  We are so busy and involved with our lives, that they often are overlooked.  Those of us with invisible illnesses are often simply ignored by those whose lives are busy and full.  I could have missed a chance to hear his story and share his life.  I could have been afraid and ignored him.  I could have missed his faith story.  I could have missed God.

But because I could relate and identify with him, I didn't.  I heard his cry to be heard and to have someone listen.  He carries a huge burden caring for his wife.  He is isolated much of the time.  But he does it with joy and with love.  He values each day and wants to share as much of Jesus with others as he can.  He might be different, but he is still human and has human needs.  He has value and has purpose.  He is invisible to many, but a  jewel in God's eyes. 

So are we my friends.  We have value.  No matter whether we can get out of bed, off the couch, out of the house, or not, we have value.  We need to remember that.  When we are down and out, we need to remember that we are exactly where we are supposed to be, doing exactly what we are supposed to be doing.  There is a purpose to our lives, even when we can't see it.

As I drove home, rested and renewed, filled with joy and peace, I found my strength returning, my hope surging and my life full.

I got home and greeted my dear husband and dogs. I was tired and found myself totally relaxed.  I took a two hour nap and woke ready to tackle the rest of the day. 

I didn't feel invisible  yesterday.  I felt full.  My heart sang and my soul rejoiced.  Today, those feelings are still with me.  I am here and I will do my best to continue to do whatever I am called to do.

I hope and pray that in the midst of your day, you will find a place of value and purpose.  That you will be filled with joy, hope, and peace.  That your cup would run over and you would have more than you need. 

Blessings to you all today.



  1. Hi Elaine
    What a beautiful story and the insights you shared here are very helpful and touching. Sometimes we forget others feel invisible too or need their story to be heard. Thanks for the gentle reminder of what God is doing behind the scenes and in our lives when we are open to Him.

  2. Elaine, I read this shortly after you first posted it, and it brought tears to my eyes. I wanted to mull on it before commenting, and rereading it today, it's still as moving as it was the first time.

    "There are so many people who have a bigger story to tell. We are so busy and involved with our lives, that they often are overlooked." Those are such important words. It's so easy to forget that there are all kinds of burdens to bear, and that most people's struggles don't show up on the surface. I really honor you for your response to the man you spoke with - it's so easy when we're tired just to shut down. Bless you for sharing this.

  3. Renee and Stacy,
    Thanks so much for reading it. It struck me so hard as I sat there and is still.... I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    God is so good and is so present all the time, even when we can't feel him.

    Bless you both,

  4. You make me smile.
    I love these kind of encounters. I am reminded that the world is full of God's people. They don't make the news or reality TV -- their stars will last for eternity.