Too often in life we miss the beauty of who someone is because we are too focused on what we want from them, who we want or need them to be, the dreams we hang on their existence. We look past them to our expectations, our desires and hidden agendas. We forget or fail to recognize that they have needs, that they have value. We miss out on arguably one of the greatest and richest gifts of life. The opportunity to get to know another, to see them, to witness their journey. It could be a fleeting moment or a lifetime…we can sit face to face and walk in step with another while missing out on who they really are or what they truly feel. We can encourage them to open up, and when they do, we do not hear a word. We miss out on what they are saying because we are too busy interpreting it from the place of a past experience, from a place of fear, or busy in our minds trying to relate it to how they can help us, or how it relates to what we want from them. We may miss out on the gift their presence was meant to be because we were too busy trying to make them the gift we wanted or thought they should be. Sometimes we fail to step outside of ourselves and realize that we were meant to be the gift that in that moment they needed.
Ralph Ellison eloquently depicts a sadness difficult to communicate in “The Invisible Man” when he writes: “I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me…When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination—indeed, everything and anything except me.” Lets do our part to witness one another, and to let others be a witness to ourselves.