Open My Eyes

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I just didn’t see her.

I think that, more than anything, is what’s been eating at me these past few weeks. Why else would the same forty-five seconds keep coming back to me in quiet moments when my brain is on slow idle, replaying itself in my head long after its own summer Saturday has passed?

I had just come out of Albertson’s with a bag full of potato chips and pecan sandies destined for a heavily laden table at the home of good friends. My mind was on the day of fun ahead—perfectly grilled burgers barely pink inside, water fights and boat rides, good conversation and golden kaleidoscope sparkles of reflected sunlight on the lake. We were running a little late, and as I waited in an archway next to the automatic sliding doors for Paul to circle around with the car and pick me up, the woman who huddled a few feet away from me against the bricks of the building barely registered on my conscious mind.

I didn’t notice her, in fact, until someone else did. Just behind me, an Albertson’s employee, a girl about my age, had come out to spend her well-earned break time in the late August sun. She had a drink in one hand, a sandwich in the other, and was just tucking into it when she looked past me and saw the woman sitting on the ground. In that moment, I saw her, too: middle-aged, weary, worn clothes, sad eyes—sitting next to a tattered bag that I somehow knew was a constant companion.

It only took a beat before the girl was squatting down next to the woman, asking her in gentle tones if she was hungry and holding out her sandwich, which was gratefully accepted. The kindness in her eyes was unmistakable, so naturally given that it was clear it was woven into her being like threads into a blanket. I was transfixed, openly staring, a captive witness to what seemed, in retrospect, a holy moment.

Too soon, I blinked, and my red car pulled up to whisk me away to another life, a comfortable, super-sized life where the availability of sandwiches is never in question.

But those forty-five seconds haven’t left me. It nags at me, the memory of my blindness. Not a cruel blindness, but a thoughtless one, and is that any better? How many opportunities have I missed to be His hands, His arms, His voice to someone He placed a few feet away?

It took a few weeks, but the moment that wouldn’t leave has finally made its imprint on me. Call it a moment of awakening. And now that I’m awake, I hope I’ll open my eyes and really see people, especially the ones who don’t fit into my barbecue plans and my (mostly) orderly life.

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17 responses »

  1. This post really strikes a chord with me… I’ve been in your shoes, I’ve been blind, and sometimes jaded. And it’s eaten at me too.

    I’m glad you wrote it down , glad you reminded me. I shouldn’t *need* reminding, I know. But still, we get by with a little help (and reminding) from our friends, right?

    Thanks.
    🙂

  2. Well done you.

    I have been on the giving and receiving end of things, and those two extemes have beey cyclical in my life. It feels better to give, if I’m being honest.

    You have an enlightened soul and a gentle spirit and you can safely ease up on yourself. Your eyes are wide open.

  3. Thank you for your honesty, Katrina. You worded the moment and your feelings so raw and beautifully. This post will forever pop up in my head as I go about my day – I will always keep my eyes open now. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be hoping someone will be keeping their eyes open for me.

  4. Maybe (cause we don’t know) God’s plan for you that day wasn’t for you to notice and give, it was for you to notice the giving that the other girl did. Perhaps He wanted you to see the goodness that surrounds you, to see that He has people all around to help, the world isn’t all on Katrina’s shoulders. But you are right, too, in that sometimes we are so blind to the needs right in front of us. Thanks for this reminder again, as always, you touch me – better yet, you MOVE me.

  5. Katrina, what a beautiful post. I feel convicted in that way many times as I go about my life unaware of the needs around me. Thanks for the reminder of how blessed I am and to share that…

  6. I agree so much with what you say and the comments above. I think Amy’s comment is a perspective that wouldn’t have occurred to me, but I think it’s so true. If you read my last post yesterday, you’ll know what I mean. With all the shootings and terrible things that cover the news every day, we need to see good things every once in a while.

    And now, the 45 seconds that are playing over and over in your mind will play in mine, as well as in the mind of anyone else who reads this post. What a difference that makes.

  7. Sometimes we’re entertaining angels unaware…Don’t feel guilty, I think God got His message across to you. The girl was there instead…but He wanted you to take notice of what was going on…and you did. And its stuck with you, and in some small way has changed you. I think sometimes thats all God wants…is a little bit of change here and there…it ends up amounting to alot in the end. God bless you for keeping that moment alive in your thoughts and making the effort to change that wee bit. Next time, it might be your turn to help that hungry soul out, and you’ll be ready.

  8. I have to wonder if some of your other comment writers are correct. Maybe the whole incident happened for your betterment, and now, all who read your post.

    great post, one I’ll be thinking about.

  9. You were HIS mouth right now, with this post. You made us all think.

    Its pretty good that you guys can still do those things there. Here, at times, even if you want to, you can’t. Coz they take advantage, or some pretend to be in need then take your stuff away.

    It leaves me feeling helpless.

  10. I had a similar awakening a few years ago after I moved to a neighborhood that is neighbors with the needy. A friend of mine who walked around with her eyes wide open awakened me just as the grocery store lady awakened you.

    Since then, I have had opportunities to minister to strangers in my midst, and I took those opportunities. They were, indeed, holy moments. They have taken permanent places in my memory – far more precious than I could have ever imagined. And, you know what, it only takes one such encounter to change the fabric of your being.

    Thanks for blessing us today, Katrina.

  11. Brava! 45 second miracle.
    that gives birth to new awareness. Your words ring so very true…and have opened my eyes again !!

  12. I’ve been so caught up in my own life that, like you, I fail to see what is going on in life, sometimes right under my very nose.

    I feel you miracle in my heart, and I thank you.

  13. Found you through Tongue in Cheek…this is amazing. Thank you for such wisdom. I too, have missed many opportunities, and after the fact it has lingered in my mind’s eye and bothered me to no end. We should all take these opportunities as they come, shouldn’t we? Sometimes the journey to the burgers means helping another on the way. The burgers may somehow taste that much sweeter upon arrival.
    xo

  14. Thank you, all of you who came here from Tongue in Cheek–you’ve renewed this memory and its lesson for me in your comments. It’s amazing how God moves to help us and grow us through each other, isn’t it?

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