I remember many year ago, for most of my youth and into my 20’s, feeling a certain kind of apprehension and fear when anyone would look at me.
I suppose it came from the belief that any time ANYONE looked at me, they saw all of the shame-filled hurts that I tried so desperately to hide.
Of course I knew that people could see these things; from an angry and abusive Dad, to being bullied by my peers throughout school, how could I expect any other kind of treatment when the world COULD SEE how much I deserved it.
So, now, as I am often in the company of young adults who have come from (far worse than my own experience) abusive and traumatic homes, I find the memories coming back to me.
How I loathed the eyes. I longed for the world’s eyes to be covered when they turned toward me. I imagined people wearing blinders, at the least. That would provide some comfort, until their gaze was fully upon me. But there was never any real way of escaping the looks from those I encountered.
I pretended not to hear the searing words said about me. Words beginning before I was even old enough to leave my family, and attend school. At first school was a great change for me, as I learned the joys of escaping into books and music and art…
But once I became visible, or noticeable in some way, I became the target of other children’s derision and aggression.
So I kept my head down and did what I could to blend in to the background…
These days I’m not so concerned about how most people perceive me, and I am so, so very grateful for that. I encounter other people’s children who tell me that they have seen things that no child should see. They have heard and been victims of things no human ought.
So I make sure that I take the blinders off when I look at them. That way they can see the child in me, returning their gaze, through the older eyes of an adult who genuinely cares about them. I do whatever I am able, w/in my limited capabilities, to leave them better than I find them.
I need to remember to pray for them.
Won’t you help me pray for the children, and the hurting adults they grew up to become?