There’s a young lady waiting for her coffee. She’s dressed in frumpy jeans with glittery sandals, pacing the floor and chewing her lip. She has friends, but they’re all too busy to join here. She steals a glance around the room, making sure she fits in before tucking a thin strand of hair behind her ear. When I look over, her eyes immediately drop, studying the floor as she waits.
Who is this girl and why do I see her with an aching heart?
This happens to me now and then. Sometimes I’m sitting at a restaurant or walking down the aisle in a grocery store when suddenly I am seeing through my heart. The innocence of a little boy holding his father’s hand…the loneliness of an old woman eating alone…the insecurity of a teenager at Starbucks…each soul magnified and all I want is for them to be loved and to know that everything will be aright.
I don’t understand why this happens. For all I know, these people are perfectly content with their lives. Perhaps God is teaching me how to look through a different lens?
Or maybe I’m just nuts…
Whatever the reason, this experience always conjures similar questions: Have I shown enough compassion? Do I know what it means to love? Do I see this child, eating fries, looking up at her mother, as a part of me?
Some of my clients impact me this way. I can’t say why, but these folks cut through my inner shields and defenses. One such person is Dave, a patient of mine who suffers from severe intention tremors. Dave is in his fifties and can barely control his arms during daily activities. All this guy wants is to provide for his family, yet his disability makes it impossible. As a therapist, I’m supposed to be the rock….the support….the professional…but Dave’s story strips that all away, exposing my innermost fears and emotions.
Why does this man’s life touch me so much? Is it because his little girl is my daughter’s age? Is it the fact that he thanks me despite my failings as a therapist? Is it because he treats me like a long-lost friend? What is God trying to say through these emotive experiences?
You could say God is pushing us a certain way…trying to fan the spark that lies buried inside our mortality.
But wouldn’t it be a lot easier if He just told us?
No….I don’t want something written before I was born…something that is subject to interpretation. I want a clear voice…telling me what to do next.
Is that too much to ask?