Who Do You See When You Look at Someone?

We were all young once - toddlers and teens exploring the world and learning to live; learning to love. If we are lucky, we will be very old some day too. Sometimes when my mind softens I can see in someone the many ages that they have been and eventually will be. Time unfolds just a little and my mind can see the deep and profound complexity of the person in front of me. I remember then that everyone is on a journey and none of us have ever been as old as we are now.

I have a friend, a dear one, that had a serious health crisis and almost died. She is now physically different than she was before. I remember her before, but I watch people meet her now and see her now as if she has always been that way. I watch my mind do that too when I meet someone - placing that person in a fixed category. Her changed ability is a daily reality for her and still she is more than just a disability.

I was talking with a new friend and he told me that he is very anxious recently and doesn't ever remember being this way before in his life. I like to remember this about him - that the anxiety that I see now is not a fixed condition. His current emotional reality requires him to learn to work with anxiety and yet it is not who he is. He is more than just an anxious person.

And then there is the difficult person at work or in your family. Does your irritation fix them in place as the difficult one? Imagine the possibility of seeing the complexity of the alive human being in front of you instead of a fixed story of who they must be.

Consider that no part of you is fixed - no part of anyone is fixed. What freedom it would bring, if we could clearly see ourselves and each other in the fullness of being human which is never a fixed experience or reality. We could respect the differences that are there and without holding tight to views on what those differences mean because it is all in flux anyway. This is a call to see each other through eyes of love.

Ashley Sharp