I see you over there. Yes, you. I see you struggling to hold it together. I see the face you choose to show the world, but I also see the face hidden underneath it all.
I see you. I see the face of fear. Crippling in it’s intensity, almost bordering on panic. Your fear brightened, sort of wild eyes, I see them as they scan the world around them, searching for an invisible threat. A threat that is too real, too scary, and that has seemingly and stealthily crept into your life in what seems like the blink of an eye.
As if the world wasn’t hard enough for you already, facing the challenges that you can see. Now the world has thrown you a curve ball. You have a microscopic monster hiding under your bed, lurking around every corner, more real and more threatening than any boogeyman you’ve faced before. How do you fight a monster you can not see? I see you – washing and scrubbing, disinfecting everything. I see you following the rules of this war, staying home, donning your shield as you strap on that mask when you do venture out, wielding that imaginary sword that keeps you at least six feet away from others, and six feet from the enemy. I see you, doing your part, stomping down the fear, a warrior in isolation, trying to hold on to some semblance of control in a world that seems to have lost its mind. Trying to hold on to normal when normal has left us far behind. I see you. I know you, even if I may not know your name.
I see you too. You, over there. The one who isn’t hiding in the corner, the one who has no choice. You are the one who doesn’t get the opportunity to stay home and fortify your castle. You are the heroes that we have sent out to war, into the battlefield. I see you. The ones who have to wake up as if normal still exists, the ones we send out to take care of everyone else. Our essentials, our lifelines. You have many faces hidden underneath your masks, but I see the smiles hidden under there as well. The ones you give to that customer, that patient, that co-worker. The smiles that to me are the bravest symbols I have ever seen. Smiles in the face of war, and they are hidden from us under the veil of protection, the covering of a mask, protecting us, and hopefully you too. I see you. I can see the smiles in your eyes, and oh, how they sparkle. The eyes of strangers that I never took the time to notice before. I see you.
I see the worry, so much worry. That worry that the enemy will get a hold of you, and take you captive, like some primitive prisoner of war. Or worse, that the enemy will tag along with you, hidden away like the proverbial trojan horse, some minute particle of which will hitch a ride home with you. You worry that you will bring that enemy within your own home, straight to your loved ones, family, and friends. I see you. I see your worry, but I see so much more. I see bravery and courage and it shines out for the rest of us to see, brighter than the noonday sun. I am in awe of you. In this world where the least have become the first, I respect you. My heart overflows with love for you. I see you. We all do. You are worthy of so much more than applause. We thank you.
Hey, you. The forgotten ones. I see you as well. The ones who are struggling more than they have ever struggled before. Online every day, you are told to wait. On the phone, on hold, every day you are told to wait. In a food bank line, you are told to wait. The ones who are waiting for unemployment, waiting for their jobs back, waiting, waiting, waiting. Waiting for help. I see you. You are told to wait, yet nothing else is waiting. This virus is not waiting. The children that need to be fed are not waiting. The evictions aren’t waiting, the repossesions aren’t waiting. The bills keep coming, and coming, and you feel buried alive. The worry does not wait, as everyday the clock seems to tick faster and faster towards loss and empty stomachs. I see you. I long to help you. I long to tell the world to hurry up and help you, that there is no time to lose, that we have to get this thing we call life back together. I see you, dear. I worry with you, the backbone of this country, laid off and struggling to make ends meet. A worry you do not need as we all struggle in this new way of life. I see you. I will not look the other way. I admire your determination, your perseverance. I care about you, you are not forgotten.
And I see you. The faces of addiction. I see the ones struggling with their old demons, ones you once vanquished, or even the current ones. The demons that seem so much harder in the middle of this currently chaotic world. The struggle of another drink, the struggle of another drag, another high, another disappointment. I see those of you who are barely holding on to the thread of your sobriety, and I see those of you who are struggling just to get there. I see you. And I care. I see the ones who may have slipped up and who are right now struggling with another crisis amidst the crisis of isolation. You feel more isolated than ever, and I see you. I feel your thoughts racing through my own head, thoughts of an inability to cope, a longing for escape. Except in this war against a virus, and this war against addiction, escape can not be found in the face of drugs or alcohol, it is only a trap. This trap will ensnare you, and if it doesn’t kill you, you are just the lucky one who didn’t die, but the luck eventually runs out. I see you. I see addiction. I see the war, and I promise you there is a way out, this struggle for sobriety. It starts on your knees, with the acknowledgement that you can’t fight this alone, a calling out to a power greater than your own. The weapon of this war is greater than all weapons, and it is the weapon of our God. I see you. I hear you. I feel you. You are not alone my friend, and your shame can end. You are much stonger than you think you are, and you can win. I can see it, right here, right now, images in my mind, the power of prayer and positive thinking, the power of hope in words, I see you, winning, and you are a champion.
Over there, way over there, hidden away by careless words and thoughtless actions, struggling, ignored, swept under the rug, out of sight and way out of mind, I see you. A story too common, a story not told often enough. The story that statistics say happens to one out of four of us in our lifetime, and it is the story of mental illness. Anxiety? You’re told to just chill out. Depression? You’re told to just snap out of it. We are told time and time again that all of it is just in our head, and that is the problem. The suffering is in our minds, and the mind is inescapable. Mental illness is a sickness that claims lives. Mental illness takes us hostage, keeps us prisoner, and tortures us. Mental health issues are so vast, and vary from person to person, yet they are so real. Don’t you dare let anyone tell you that what you are feeling isn’t valid. I see you. I see your suffering. I see the strength it takes to get through the moments that drag during a panic attack, heart racing, short of breath, body shaking. I see you. I see the strength it takes to just get through another day in the face of depression, the fake mask you wear to just go through the motions of another day that just lays over you, heavy and hard, exhausting, seemingly hopeless. I see you and I validate you. You are strength, your feelings are real, your struggle is worthwhile. You are strong even when you feel weak. Not many understand, and not many could go through what you do on a daily basis, but you are definitely not alone. Your struggle is not meant to be solitary, you are meant to find your voice, and your healing. I see you, and the struggles that you face, that you continue to face, that you can overcome. I see you, friend. You are not alone.
I see you all. I see the warriors. The courage, the resilience, the struggle, the wait. I see all the fear and anxiety, sickness, and death, hopelessness and addiction, and I see the despair. But, I see so much more.
Sometimes I see you as a single blurred face, a beautiful face blended together as one, the face of this new world. The invisible faces that are now so visible, because now, amidst all this suffering, our faces are clear. We are the face of humanity.
I see you world. I see you getting it on. Your war face. Your charity face. Your work face. Your prayer face. I see you fighting, loving, helping, struggling, working together as I have NEVER seen you before. Not only neighbors, but cities, states, nations, working towards one common goal, a brand new face, a face of change we never saw coming, a face of hope and a face of healing.
Out of all the days that I have had that God has allowed me to stumble along, searching for my purpose, until I found it in Him, and through Him, I have never seen such a massive outpouring of camaraderie and love. I see neighbor helping neighbor, nation helping nation. Open prayers and open arms. I see love and compassion. I see people coming to the realization that we can all make a difference, no matter who we are, individually and together. I see you, and I see the face of a healing world. This is what it means to be human, to be created to love one another. I see sidewalk art and window signs. I see birthday parades blaring with emergency vehicles. I see love and kindness and unity. I see a unity that was meant to last.
I see you all, and I see the face of God, the presence of God in us all. I see hope. I see the end of the story. And do you know what else I see?
I see hope win.
God bless you,
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In his name the nations will put their hope.”
We wait in hope for the Lord ; he is our help and our shield.
But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:7
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord .
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”
2 Chronicles 15:7