It’s been a while since I’ve seen Avatar, but one of the things I remember most about the movie was how the characters were able to “see” one another. “I see you” they would say as they looked past the surface to the emotions and struggles of the other. They would get into each other’s minds and see their past, their hurts, and their pain. It was this connection that drew them closer in love.
I didn’t see my daughter in this way today. I didn’t see the look on her face when she ran to me with the drawing she had done on the dry-erase board. I remember her saying something about butterflies and a trampoline and how it was “SO beautiful.” I don’t remember what she drew. Or the look on her face.
I didn’t see my son today when he told me about his adventures as a wilderness explorer for the 433rd time. I nodded my head like I was supposed to, even threw in a few mmm hmm’s, but only vaguely remember the words he said after he shouted “Mom! Are you listening?” I was too busy folding the clothes and working through my to-do list in my head.
I didn’t see our baby when she cried at 2:00 in the morning. I got up. I rocked her. But I didn’t see her. All I could think about was my own frustration with her and how badly I just wanted to crawl back under the covers and sleep.
I didn’t see my husband this evening. He had gone to work early and came home sick, only to deal with work issues until late in the night. All I wanted was a break.
I’ve come to find that being with someone is not the same thing as “seeing” them. As stay-at-home moms, it’s so easy to think that because we’re there, we are present, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Even without the computer or the phone, there are a host of distractions ready to pull us away.
The laundry, the dishes, the floors that need to be swept. The un-hung picture frames, the mismatched bath towels, the shoes in the hallway, and the toys sprawled all over the floor. They all call for our attention, and oftentimes, we have no problem seeing that.
I’m beginning to see that the more we take our eyes off others, the more we focus on the stuff, and the more we focus on the stuff, the more we focus on ourselves. “I want” begins to creep in and before we know it, it’s the people in our life that stand in the way between “me and my happiness”.
The world tells us we deserve it. We should have it. But it’s all an illusion, a lie from the enemy, for the more we think about the stuff, and the more we focus on ourselves, the more dissatisfied and discontent we become. Stuff can never satisfy. Selfishness does not fulfill.
Now, I’m not saying we shouldn’t take care of ourselves or keep up with our homes, but our eyes have a fleshly way of seeing things through a distorted lens. We often miss the proverbial forest for the trees. We forget to look at what is truly important and can often get caught up in the temporal.
What if instead, we look to God?
We aim to see the world through His eyes, His priorities, His purposes. What if instead of seeing ourselves, we aim to see others, not just the “others” who live on the other side of the world, (although that would be great, too!) but also the ones who live beside us in our homes, the ones entrusted in our care? What if we took all of those scriptures on love and servitude and put them into practice with our little ones? With our husbands? With our families?
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. -Philippians 2:3-4
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. -Matthew 7:12
No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. -1 Corinthians 10:24