He saw her

P1070595I once worked in child care, as an administrative assistant. This was an important time of my life, one in which I learned both to respect children and understand myself. It was in many ways the perfect job–if I tired of bookkeeping, I played with the kids. If I tired of the kids, I always had something else I could escape to.

I’ve never forgotten one of the lessons my boss taught me. I was in the playroom with 20 kids, and I was sitting in a comfy chair with two little ones on my lap, reading a story. There was another child, Richard, who was starting to tussle with someone, and the playroom was full of chatter from other kids and their toys. I wanted to get Richard’s attention, so I kept saying, “Richard.  Richard, RICHARD.”  The louder I said his name, the more Richard seemed to ignore me, and I was starting to get frustrated because hey, I was supposed to be reading to the two on my lap right then. And honestly, who likes to be ignored?

My boss walked into the room. She looked at me, looked at Richard and then calmly went to him whispering, “Richard? I think Crystal’s trying to get your attention.”

Richard looked up, quite surprised, and came to me immediately. He wasn’t trying to be disobedient–he hadn’t heard me because of the other noise in the room.

It’s a life lesson that applies here too.

We live in a busy, video-centric instant world.  Personally, I find it hard to navigate sometimes. For example, I’m quite sensitive to flashing lights. As a result, I don’t play video games, go to disco, attend weddings or go out most evenings.

Some may think I therefore live a sheltered life, but that’s short-sighted. It’s a limitation, that’s all. I’ve learned to live within its boundaries and my husband and closest friends have as well.  True confession–even if I throw a four-year-old style tantrum (especially when I miss weddings), the fact is we’ve adjusted our lifestyle to accommodate it. Most days, it’s no different than, say, having to wear glasses to write this.  It’s just how it is.

The problem with being in a busy, video-centric instant world is how hard it becomes to see anything. Take an ambulance on the road for example. At the risk of sounding like an old woman–I remember a time when an ambulance would run its lights, and people would pull over.  Then, I think because people didn’t pull over as they should, faster lights were added. Now, they strobe at a ridiculous rate, so we can see them a kilometre or two away. Road crews, garbage trucks–they’ve all had to make their lights brighter and faster.

The question is why?

I think it’s because of the noise–visual noise in this case–and it’s so loud, bright and quick, that we no longer see it. We expect it, and as a result, it’s hard to move away from it to a quieter place. Sometimes when we get to a quieter place, we don’t know how to handle it.

I wonder if that’s also part of the reason why there seem to be so many people struggling these days. Not only do we miss the million little blessings of the normal day, but other people miss us. We are lonely in the midst of millions of people. Even though we are all bright lights, it’s hard to be noticed with all the other strobes out there.

Darnell Barton is a modern-day hero because he found a way to filter the noise. He saw her, and he made a life-changing decision because of it. What you may not realize from this video is that there were a few people who walked right by and never noticed her. Take a minute to hear his story.

Hurry with your answer, God!
I’m nearly at the end of my rope. Don’t turn away; don’t ignore me! That would be certain death.

If you wake me each morning with the sound of your loving voice,
I’ll go to sleep each night trusting in you.

Psalm 143:7-8 The Message

5 thoughts on “He saw her

  1. I had supper with two friends last night. One is retired, quite newly remarried and is finally quite comfortable with her relatively quiet life. The other wishes she was retired and will be in a few short years. She had just completed a week of Silent Yoga Retreat and Meditation with her new significant other. The conversation was pretty much along the lines of your story. We are programmed to get involved and make contact somehow with every little thing that bombards us each day no matter which type of sensory experience it is. I get tired very quickly. I have too much information. I lose sight of who I am and where I”m going. The week is over and I think “already?” How could it happen so quickly. I used to look at people who booked appointments with themselves to go for a long walk (they wrote it in their calendars) and I’d think how sad that there was so little impulsivity in their lives. Now I am one of those people. I remember my grandma saying that time is like water going through your hands; the older you get, the faster the water goes through because your hands get gnarly and your fingers get crooked and there’s more space for the water to flow. I now know what she meant. So, just to set things in the right direction, this weekend, just after I finish Report Cards, do laundry, see that Benny and Paige have something to do while the family is at a hockey tournament and get ready for next week…I will go to yoga…for an hour…and let my body and brain experience something different….me!
    I love your way with words, Crystal; one of my Language Arts comments for Grade Two reads “is able to write as naturally as he/she speaks.” You get an “A” on that one!
    Gotta run; it’s 6:30 am and I’m already running behind. Have a good day, old friend of mine! Pat

    1. Pat, I hope you recognized yourself in that story! I love, love love what your Grandma had to say. I think it’s true. And I want to see. Thanks for stopping by my friend!

  2. Thanks Crystal for sharing this story. Wouldn’t it be great if more people like that were around. So few of us have “me” time because we are trying to make everyone else happy. As for your comments about limitations, well, that’s a hard one. It’s difficult enough for us to recognize and adjust to our limitations, but it’s harder to get other people to understand our limitations. I think there is a special reason we are forced to have limitations. It’s like we are being protected against ourselves. Be sweet, Gail

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