A young friend of our son’s came to see us one afternoon, shortly before she left for college. We visited for a time, and I walked her to her car when she left.
As we stood at the curb talking together, I noticed a young man approaching us from the corner. I noticed also that he was very busy noticing Meg, who is a strikingly beautiful young woman.
This young man was undeniably insolent in his regard, and I was pretty certain that Meg had seen his approach. I studied him as he drew near, and saw anger and might have been belligerence written on his face. Then Meg caught sight of him.
As she moved to make room for him to pass, she matter-of-factly turned to him, smiled, said “Hi,” and turned back to our conversation. Her gesture was one of simple acceptance. There was no condescension or fear, no unnatural effort to be friendly. It was simply Meg being Meg.
I looked at the young man’s face as she spoke to him, and I saw the anger and belligerence, the insolence, quietly melt away, to be followed by confusion and what might have been embarrassment. He mumbled a quiet “Hi”, and passed us with something rather wonderful dawning in his face. I think that something wonderful was a different image of himself, seen through the eyes of another.
There was one thing that stood out for me in this encounter, aside from the obvious fact that this young woman was a rather extraordinary person. What struck me was the way in which her simple action reflected something of God’s relationship with us.
How often has God turned to us, looked past and through the defensiveness and arrogance, the belligerence and anger, the flawed self-image, into the truth of our existence as beloved children.
God sees us as we are created to be – people of light and life - joy and hope – love and gratitude. We are people of creative power because we share in the life of God – and Meg’s wielding of that power that afternoon created a new reality for a young man we’ll never know.
I’ve often prayed for her gift to see others through the eyes of God.
Rev. Dr. Lynn Sinnott is from Christ Episcopal Church in Xenia.