Being physically seen doesn’t guarantee that we’ll be personally known.
Personal interactions may be most impersonal. Others may see our surface, ignore our heart, and leave us feeling invisible, unseen, unheard, and disconnected.
Built into each of us is a hunger to be known and valued. The song “Cellophane” from the musical “Chicago” articulates that hunger. Its words poignantly convey a loneliness far too many of us experience. Here’s what the actor sings:
“I tell ya, Cellophane, Mister Cellophane, should have been my name, Mister Cellophane. Cause you can look right through me, walk right by me, and never know I’m there.” Mr. Cellophane felt invisible. Has that ever happened to you? Listen to the song and see if you recognize his experience.
Hagar felt invisible.
Genesis 16 recounts the story of Hagar whom a jealous Sarah sent into the desert to die, apparently unseen and unheard. Hagar learned differently. After God intervenes she first calls her newborn son “Ishmael” which means “God hears,” and then refers to God as “El Roi” which means “the God who sees me”. El Roi. Is that not one of God’s most precious names? It is to me. People may notice only my surface or may misunderstand my heart, but God always looks deep and God always sees me.
A Widower Feels Invisible
He’d had one of those precious marriages where he was truly seen. His wife had seen far beneath his surface to notice his very self. He missed so many things in her absence, but the one that hurt the most surprised him: Now, in her absence, he felt invisible. His words about feeling invisible are a lesson for us all. Please read his post, I Feel Invisible After My Wife’s Death
Seeing Conveys Respect
On page 18 of his book, Windows of the Soul, Ken Gire reminds us that “often we don’t give something a second glance because we don’t think there’s anything there to see.” He rightly tells us that to respect something [or someone] is to understand that there is something there to see, that it’s not all on the surface, that something lies beneath the surface with the power to change the way we think or feel.
Two Questions And a Suggestion
- Have you ever felt invisible? Of course you have. I have. In too many of our interactions we remain unseen.
- Have you ever left another feeling unseen? Of course you have. I have.
Let us each look beneath the surface of those with whom we interact, take the time to notice their hearts, and give them the precious gift of our respect.
Have You Ever Felt Invisible?
© Lynne Fox, 2019