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To Be Seen and Heard

September 3, 2023


Many years ago while my husband, Chuck, our daughter, Leslie, and I were residing in San Diego after Chuck's first lung transplant, we pulled up to a Dairy Queen to get a treat. Four or five teens were standing outside. They looked pretty rough and were trying to look even tougher. Chuck hesitated, wondering if he should take his family past or through these boys. I assured him that we would be fine, that they just wanted to be seen. I got out of the car, took Leslie out of the car seat, and walked toward the entrance. I met the eyes of any of the teens that would look at me and said hello to them. They greeted me in response. And if I remember correctly, one held the door for us on our way out.

My son Thomas has severe social anxiety. He sometimes feels threatened by what others are wearing or their demeanor. Recently, one community member has really worried him. Knowing this person, I've been able to assure Thomas that this man just wants to be seen, wants others to know that he is not invisible.

Isn't this something that we all need? I exist! I am here! I matter! Hear me! See me!

Can we do more to really see and hear each other? Can we listen to hear instead of listen to only figure out what we want to say next? I find it easy to smile at strangers, but can I smile more at friends and neighbors? Can I speak first instead of waiting for others to do so? Can we slow down and see each other.

Have you noticed how nice it is to hear our name spoken, to hear it come from the lips of another person? Seldom in conversation do we address each other by name. How many times have we heard others say that as a child they knew they were in trouble when they heard their full name? Can we speak each other's names, especially those of our children, spouse, and friends with kindness and with love and more often?

We speak of wanting world peace and less conflict. Today, address others by name, listen to what ________ or _______ (insert actual name here) has to say, look _______ or ________ in the eye, see him or her, hear him or her, be present, be kind. And please don't turn away from those who intentionally look different, they might need to be seen the most.

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Guest
Sep 09, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Good words!

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Guest
Sep 04, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Perfectly said. Vitally needed. Thank you for your profound insight on this important topic. Love you so much, SueAn.

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I wish I could use your name, but thank you for using mine. I'm sure I love you too.

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Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I love this! This is absolutely true. Beautiful words and a perfect way to remind us to be present and do better.

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Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Tender words. It reminds me of an unforgettable passage from a mother whose baby was stillborn. She asked people to say his name, just say his name, and so I will, its was Sonny.

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Names have a lot of power, and it is important to say them.

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