Millions know about the invisibility cloak, but what about the invisibility cane?
During a recent run in with a moped on my bicycle (yes, yet another bike accident. My Dutch biking accidents are such old news I’ve decided not to write about them any more), I found my already weak ankle lightly sprained. Quick to the RICE treatment I know too well, I realized this was the least severe sprain of my life. So I’ve opted to use a cane until the pain recedes enough for me to walk normally.
An interesting phenomena ensued. People who knew me well and saw me where expected–such as picking up my kids at school–did a double take as if they didn’t quite recognize me at first. A cane as disguise? Who knew?
More pointedly, though, there were two sorts of responses to the cane in public. First was the open stare. All over England (more about our fall holiday) strangers scrutinized my cane and limp. I’m sure if asked later these people would remember nothing about me beyond the cane and perhaps a vague impression of dark hair.
The second response was most interesting. Perhaps catching sight of the cane in peripheral vision, eyes slid below my legs or over me as if I were completely invisible. It’s true! You know the sorts of people you greet in passing at the grocery store–the ones whose faces you recognize but you never seem to remember their names? They did not see me at all.
I can only imagine what it must be like to have a permanent disability and half the world acting as if you don’t even exist. I’m reminded of a teaching I heard several years ago about how we are made with a desire to be seen, to be acknowledged. The speaker was SparkPlugCoach Earl Gray, and he described how much we can encourage each other and even strangers by looking. Much of the talk is lost to my memory now, but the take away hit home with me. Make eye contact when you hold the door for the person behind you. Greet people in passing with your eyes. Every notice sends the message “You are important. I see you. You are someone to notice.”
As cool as an invisibility cane sounds, we live in a world where millions of us are so tied to social media we seldom look up. At the same time we do this we are posting, commenting, liking and sharing, in part, because we are desperate for reassurance that someone sees us, notices us, and thinks we matter.
Children are always asking, “Did you see me?” I have four sons and the younger two often tell me what they did and ask if I saw them. The elder two are too cool to ask anymore, but when they make the shot or do something they want someone to notice their eyes flash around asking without words Did anyone see me? Did you notice what I did?
Inside I think we are longing for someone to notice us. How grateful I am for my Father-God.
Psalm 33:18 (BBE) See, the eye of the Lord is on those in whose hearts is the fear of him, on those whose hope is in his mercy;
1 Peter 3:12 (CJB) For ADONAI keeps his eyes on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers
Proverbs 15:3 Aramaic Bible in Plain English
The eyes of Lord Jehovah are in every place, gazing on the good and on the evil.
Psalm 34:15 (MSG) God keeps an eye on his friends, his ears pick up every moan and groan.
Kristin King is an author, speaker and president of the nonprofit Future Hope Africa. She highly recommends you visit Earl Gray’s life coaching blog for a bit of encouragement. Currently focused completing fiction projects, Kristin is developing an outline for an inspirational book entitled “Messiness is a Gift…and other Unexpected Blessings from God.”