We all long to be seen. You can’t see in the dark. We need to turn the light on.
One way I have practiced my listening skills is to make sure I notice someone’s eye color when having a conversation. I’ll confess that I’m not super great about listening. Further, I’m not even great at communicating. Growing up, I learned how to bake a cake like no other but communicating? That lesson escaped me somehow. I’m an introvert and a recovering perfectionist with a mild case of self-diagnosed ADD so that makes me not great at talking, constantly afraid of saying the wrong thing and ridiculously distractable. This is precisely why I like writing. I can edit here. Once the words are spoken, they can’t be edited. They are out of the tube like toothpaste. There’s no going back. It’s done. The distraction element is what prompted me to start looking into practicing eye contact a few years ago and the best way I could do that was to make sure I noticed and noted the eye color of who I was with.
The combination of my lack of listening skills and the distraction element is what prompted me to start looking into practicing eye contact a few years ago. The solution I could came up with was to make sure I noticed the eye color of the person I was talking to.
Before I started my little eye color listening trick, when I was talking to someone, I might be formulating what I would need to say next, anticipating what they might see next so I could respond without sounding like an idiot or well, not listening. Not really listening. I’ve since learned that it’s ok to be quiet. It’s ok to not have words on the ready. It’s ok to listen just for the sake of listening. Novel concept, right?
Sometimes when I’m “noticing eye colors” I remind myself that I’m not just listening to their words, I’m listening to their soul. Again, I’m not so great at this and I’m still very much a work in progress so if you sit and talk with me I hope that while I’m thinking eye color you’ll be thinking grace.
I recently had the privilege of visiting with a friend who was hurting. I shared with her some of my own hurts as well. I say “privilege” because anytime we can share our stories with one another, even our painful ones, it offers another layer of healing and knowing we aren’t alone. A common factor for both of us was how alone we have at times felt in our hurts and how hope-giving it is to be heard. To be seen. We agreed that we can’t fix the circumstances, we can’t redeem the situation, it is beyond our skill set. We’re not in the miracle working business. But we can listen. We can see each other. We can hear each other’s souls. We can be light in each other’s darkness.
“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” John 12:46
Light is life. Darkness is death. For various reasons, including a not so pleasant run-in with a snake, I’m not a fan of the dark. If my husband didn’t like to sleep in a completely dark room, I would leave the closet light on. Rest assured that I always have a flashlight nearby. In particularly fearful seasons, I have to get up, go to the other room and turn the light on. Light pierces the darkness. Where light is, darkness simply cannot be.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light.” Matthew 6:22
May my eyes, your eyes be the lamp of our bodies. Healthy and full of light. May my eyes be the lamp that someone needed to turn on in their darkness. Lord, help me to receive your light and life today and be light and life to others. Amen
Here’s an assignment for you… pay attention to the eye color of those you chat with. The checkout lady at the grocery store, the person you have coffee with, your kids, your spouse, your neighbor. While you’re noticing the color of their eyes, go ahead and notice the color of their souls.