I look at this face every morning in the mirror. Put my contacts in. Brush my teeth. Take inventory of my list for the day and plan the clothes that I will wear. Usually workout clothes. Checking the clock and knowing I have 5-10 more minutes until I hear small feet puttering across the wood floors. Quickly digging through the laundry basket with a weeks worth of clean clothes to find some socks that match. I make my bed. And I start my coffee.
My children look at this face every day. They see me preparing their meals. Getting them dressed. Resolving conflict. Parenting their sweet little hearts. Listening to their concerns. And telling them that I love them a thousand times a day.
My husband looks at this face every night. When the day is completely washed away. When I dream. And when my heart comes alive with ideas. And when it feels crushed beneath weight of disappointment.
I see there faces. I take in every freckle, crinkle of the nose, and variance of expression. The proximity illuminates who they are. It’s as if our face is only revealed in the intimate. Meant to be studied with the relaxed breath of deep conversation, or lit with laughs of a life well lived. The closeness of it feels sacred and beautiful.
Recently, I followed a path that led me to the intimate. The knowing. And the sacred. Holding hands with women that were strangers. Listening to them share their hearts. Watching them be totally moved by the love of God. Having a full awareness that He is their only hope. I was enthralled by the beauty and tenderness birthed in that space.
We would pray, and on amen, our eyes would meet again through the cloudy sight of tears. Our cheeks wet. And both of us reflecting back love. The kind of love that says nothing can actually separate us from it. It’s everywhere. It’s tangible. It’s real.
There was a woman that was highlighted to me. The kind of connection that calls you from across the room. Her body wore the burden of a hard life. But still there was joy in her smile. When I looked into her eyes, I saw some bit of myself reflected back to me.
We begin our days in a completely different way. But we held each other’s hands in unity. As women. As sisters. As human. As spirit. It’s an impossible collide. One that only God could orchestrate. And It felt intentional.
Intentional because there was a familiar resonance between us. We found each other both in this state of trying to grow something inside ourselves. Our worth. Our belonging. Our hope. And our need to anchor into the love of God.
And it just confirmed in my heart that we are all human. Regardless of every obstacle that would have divided us in the natural world, I looked in her eyes and saw the same ache in my own heart.
And I realized that connection is built in these moments. It’s the subtle meeting of the eyes, and deeper into the spirit. Meeting in joy...meeting in pain...meeting in the confusion of moments that encompass both of those. It’s found in the eyes of the most familiar, but can also be found in the surprising vulnerability of a stranger.
She was beautiful. Tired. And filled with hope. Each of us beginning our walk in a scary season. Hers to hold her sobriety. Mine to blindly follow this mysterious heartbeat into a place that I’ve been afraid of my whole life. And our story is parallel in a way that only the divine can twist together. Somehow our hearts carried the same fears, insecurities, and what if’s. But we have to press in.
As we all press into the uncomfortable, the hard and scary season, it will fortify us. It will fortify our souls in the deepest places of our being. Drawing us closer to a Father that loves radically, we not only see ourselves differently, but we see the world differently as well—vividly connected, grounded in our humanity, and more inspired to love.
I believe that harnessing empathy is the bridge to understanding our existence in this world together, it positions our hearts to learn, and we can see beyond our own lives...through the barriers...and connect to the lives of our sisters and our brothers. Then we can begin to heal.