Do you have an observant witness? I came across this phrase recently in a piece of writing that quoted a beautiful blessing written by Kate Braestrup and it has remained with me.
May you be granted capable and amusing comrades, observant witnesses, and gentle homecomings.
May you be granted respite from what you must know of human evil, and refuge from what you must know of human pain.
May God defend the goodness in your hearts. May God defend the sweetness in your souls.
We All Need An Observant Witness
The moment I read the phrase, it struck me. We all need people who truly ‘see’ us. People who see beyond the walls we sometimes put up. Just one person who ‘gets’ us is enough. One person who says to us, “I see who you are and I know you matter. Your life matters to me.” That person who will stand up for us, who will catch us when we fall, who will remind us of who we are when we forget (as we sometimes do). S/he will stand as a witness to all our attempts to do the right thing. The person who will say, “I know you are trying. You’re not perfect, but perfect people don’t exist. Just keep being you.”
I Can Still See You
Sometimes that observant witness is around, but we don’t see her or him. We don’t trust them enough. Afraid that s/he will let us down, we don’t open ourselves to this person enough.
But we need her. We need him. Learning to trust that person is the only thing we can and must do.
The inspirational speaker and writer, Terry Hershey tells this story:
A fire rages in a two-story house. A young boy’s head is visible leaning out a second floor window. His voice is piercing and plaintive, “Daddy, help me! Daddy, where are you?”
Smoke (from first-floor-flames) billows from shattered ground floor windows, now obscuring visibility. From the window, the boy cannot see the ground below, and he is literally shaking with fright. The boy hears a familiar voice, as if coming from inside the great cloud of smoke. His father, shouts, implores, “Son, I am right here. I can hear you. I am right here on the ground beneath your window. I need to you to listen to me. Listen to my voice. I need you to jump. Now. Jump and I will catch you.”
“But Daddy, I can’t jump because I can’t see you.”
“That’s okay son. I will catch you because I can still see you.”
Just to be clear ‘our person’ need not be a romantic interest – a parent, a sibling, a relative, a friend, a coach, a spiritual advisor….
Today, I remind you to look for that observant witness to your life, if you haven’t found her/him. And if you know who it is, cherish him/her.
This post was written in response to Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday prompt – Observant.