I’m not always a big fan of romantic comedies, but when I first watched “Runaway Bride” in my college days, it really spoke to me, believe it or not. Here was Julia Robert’s character dating man after man, seeming to have a great time, getting engaged to one after another. She kind of loses herself, trying to be whomever she needs to be to fit into these men’s worlds, so much so that she doesn’t even know how she really likes her eggs. But then when the time comes to walking down that isle, she can’t take it, something inside makes her run, literally run the other way. She becomes known as the “Runaway Bride.” Soon a New York reporter, Richard Gere, comes to do a story on her, essentially to mock her. This reporter character is an unhappy divorced man who has a thing or two to learn from his interactions with the Runaway Bride. Friends with his ex-wife and former boss, he asks this ex what really happened, what went wrong in their relationship. He preempts her response by saying, “Is it that I just didn’t see you?” She responds in the affirmative and they have a little healing moment. With his new revelation, he goes on to win the heart of Julia Roberts just by “seeing her” for who she truly is.

So many of us know what it is like to not be “seen” for who we truly are. We become so accustomed to it that we don’t even see ourselves. We are not necessarily being mean, we just lack eyes to see someone. And this kind of behavior is not limited to the romantic realm. When I think about any relationships in my life, the relationships that are most valuable to me are those in which we have really “seen” each other. We have called out hidden value in one another. The most precious relationships are those in which we do not try to fit people into the mold of what would be most advantageous to us, but we see them distinctly for who they are.

I read The Final Quest by Rick Joiner many years ago. He talks about meeting individuals in heaven. One woman he met was so glorious that he would have been tempted to worship her had not she stopped him. He did not recognize her as someone he had known on earth. We are eternal beings, we are truly glorious inside, whether that glory has been marred by sin or not, I believe that God sees us in our state of glory all the time. The Creator sees what he intended, not only what we see. To the degree that we are able to see people in their glory is the degree that we truly enter into agape love.

I don’t know about you, but I want more of my relationships to be like that. I want to be seen for who I am and to see others too. So, what does this look like? To me, it looks like listening– sorting out what people are really saying beneath the surface. Like I mentioned before, we have a hard enough time seeing ourselves, let alone seeing others. True friends help each other see themselves. They find nuggets of gold beneath the surface, examine them, refine them and then throw them back to the person all nice and shiny. They do this in the form of words, words that speak from the heart of God. Sometimes it’s hard to put it into words, but we try. When someone tries to hold up a handful of dirt and say, “This is me,” true friends dump the dirt and pull out the gold and say, “Nah, I think this is more like you.”

It’s really hard to see others when we don’t see ourselves. Our own search for significance makes us too preoccupied. So, on some level, I have to get it settled in my mind about who I am. I have to know that I am loved. I have to know that I have a place at the table. If I don’t, how can I invite others there?

Even in simple conversations, we are longing to be “seen.” We put out little flags that say, “Here’s a hint to who I am. Did anyone catch that?” Sometimes we put up dark flags as a cry for help. We speak lies about who we believe ourselves to be just to see if anyone corrects us, to see if anyone sees something else.

The gift of relationships that truly “see” are impossible to price. They last for eternity. They happen when the eternal man in one person speaks to the eternal man in another. This is why these relationships last the test of time. When we step into eternity, all the dross and dirt from the lies of who we are not fade away and only what is true remains. Therefore, the ones who have noticed the eternal will remain in the forefront of our minds. Try really “seeing” someone today. Even if you don’t fully get there, the act of trying is often sufficient. The effort you expend today may even be echoed in eternity.

  1. Tina Fisher says:

    Lovely. Timely. thank you

  2. AkTeacher says:

    Very articulate and thought provoking. I think I’ll read more of your posts.

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