Log in (admin only)

Miles to Go—See Me

Peeking

By Marianne Miles

“I perfected being invisible in high school,” a friend told me recently. “I wore a ‘call-on-me-if-you-want-to’ smile when I didn’t know the answer. The teacher invariably chose one of the students who waved their hands wildly or one who hid behind their book.”

Being Invisible
I’ve not mastered that technique. But my mother assures me I was quite invisible as a child. Not because of my will to be so, but because of my older sister’s beauty. Mom recounts that everywhere she took my sister and me as children, people would stop us to fawn over my sister. Her golden strawberry ringlets cascaded down her narrow back. Darling little freckles were sprinkled across her nose and cheeks under her bright green eyes. In all of our pictures together my chubby cheeks rose around a button nose which was screwed up along with my squinting eyes, looking from under dark brown bangs into a glaring sun. My sister smiled a coquettish smirk beside me.

Mom said she felt badly for me as no one ever noticed me as I stood next to the object of their awe. I don’t really remember. However, I do recall having a deep longing to be loved—especially by my absent father. I would have traded my Betsy Wetsy doll to have two hours of loving attention from him.

Our Need To Be Noticed
But the truth is we all want to be noticed. Maybe not as the center of a group’s attention or on a stage, but we do desire others’ observance. To be truly seen—and still accepted.

Here’s an experiment for you, notice where your eyes travel today. Where do they light? What do they avoid? I did this once and found as I worked around my house, I would intentionally turn my eyes from the pile of mail that I didn’t want to deal with. This surprised me. I also found I actually turned my eyes from the dirt on a window, the shoes left in the middle of the living room, the dust on the piano and so on. I was shocked to know that my mind registered the need, but my subconscious was able to shut out the need by redirecting my gaze so that I could be comfortable living in my house.

Here’s where it hurts. How many times have I also turned my eyes from the disabled child like a pile of dirty laundry? Maybe my eyes search for children of outstanding beauty, like my sister, or children who entertain me with their antics, or maybe I tend to ignore all children as I want to be comfortable in my adult world.

Invisible Special Needs Kids
I remember seeing this phenomenon in other people while raising my special needs son, Jon. He had problems with his bladder and kidney which caused him to wet his pants until he was quite old. People tended to ignore him. When he was wet, for sure, but even when he wasn’t since he had behavioral issues resulting from his disability. I think they just wanted to be comfortable in their world. And having to deal with Jon was not comfortable. And yes, his older brother regularly received the admiration of adults for his politeness and sociability as Jon watched.

OK. This is wrong. A civil word and respect of the weakest in our society brings dignity to all. Is that so hard?

The secret is each of us is the weakest link. Each of us knows our unworthiness and our desperate need for the affirmation that perfect love brings. At sixty, I am just as in need of a loving father’s lap as I was at six.

In these last years, I have made a conscious effort to really see people I come in contact with, especially children. Especially the disabled and unlovely. Why? Because I have learned that’s the way that God loves me, intentionally, and this with His perfect twenty-twenty vision at whom I really am. That’s everything to me. When I love those around me, I am providing the same elixir that completes me.

Next month in Miles to Go, I’d like to think a little more about this endless quest we seem to have for significance in a column, Hear Me.

©2010 Marianne Miles. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

*Copyrighted back columns are available for reading in archives of Comfort Cafe. Contact Marianne for reprint availability.

Bio:
Marianne Miles is a free lance writer intent on bringing comfort to mom’s of special needs kids. As she and her husband raised their children, including a son with special needs, Marianne developed a passion to support hurting mothers. Her message revolves around the love and provision of God, even in times of trial. Marianne has worked as a volunteer in the public schools, home school mom, and a teacher in a private school. She writes on the subjects of family and education in the form of devotionals, magazine articles, and poetry. Marianne welcomes reader’s comments and publisher’s questions at Marianne_Miles@yahoo.com.