Pr. Cathy Daharsh
Growing up I had a neighbor named Siska, who became blind as an adult. She lived right next door and I visited her often. She was like another grandmother to me. She told about the challenges she faced when she went blind and adapting to new ways of doing tasks that once were so easy. I’ll never forget when she told me of her greatest challenge.She said, “When I went to places where there were people, I had a feeling that nobody knew that I was there. I couldn’t see their response to my presence, I couldn’t see… and if nobody knew that I was there, it was hard for me to know where I was.” Without seeing herself in the mirror of other people, it was hard for Siska to see who she genuinely was. In time she learned to overcome this challenge. She said that lots of prayer, patience, positive thinking, and supportive people helped her through.
In the reading from Acts this week, Paul and Silas give this gift of truly seeing the truth about someone first to the enslaved young woman who follows them around and then again to the jailer. That is a gift that we all want. We want to feel that we are completely understood so that now and then we can let our guard down and look out around us and not feel that we will be hurt when our defenses are down.
We all want the gift that Paul and Silas already know how to give. When we are given the gift of hearing and seeing who we are through others we can become our genuine selves. And, more importantly, when we embrace our genuine selves, it is easier for us to acknowledge and embrace the genuine selves of our friends, family, and others. When we look at ourselves through others who have experienced some of the things we have, the walls that separate and divide us can disappear and we can become connected thought our authentic selves.
Paul and Silas share with the enslaved young woman the gift of who she really is, the gift we all long to receive from God. My prayer for you this week is that you can find places where you can let your defenses down and be authentically you, “you…exactly as you are.” Amen.