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On Seeing & Being Seen

Today the girls went up and down the hill shouting, “Mama, look at me!”

They went back on forth on the swings crying, “Watch me!”

All day long, they implored for my attention. They looked up from what they were doing, either reassured by my gaze or demanding it.

How often am I like my children, trying to attract someone’s gaze? I crave attention, friendship, connection, and approval. I no longer shout, “Watch me!” but I also long to be known and appreciated.

What would happen if I cared more for the gaze of my heavenly Parents than the myopic gaze of mortal peers?

Could I develop an eternal gaze, and see others as They do?

Our society is gaze-conscious: posts and likes and follows and clicks—we’ve pathogenically stoked the human need for attention. I spend far too much time perceiving the gaze of others, seeing the world through mirrors rather than windows, feeling lost in self-absorption.

But Jesus looked upon the woman at the well, searched out the woman with an issue of blood, saw Zaccheus high in a tree. He told parents to behold their children (3 Nephi 17:23). He saw people, perceived their needs, and blessed them.

I can do the same.

I can practice seeing others deeply.

I can bask in the gaze of my Heavenly Parents.

In the light of Jesus’ fully-focused eye, my own gaze clears. I see myself as I am seen; I see others as they really are. No longer distracted or seeing as through a glass darkly,

I see clearly.

* * *

Sometimes, a spiritual leader happens to speak precisely the thing that is in your heart, but with the eloquence that you lack. So it was for me this week. Many thanks to Sister Craig for elucidating this principle of seeing and being seen.

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Jenny Harris
Jenny is a star-gazing, book-clubbing mother of two. She has a Master’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies, which is mildly comical (but also a boon in parenting and relationships). Her kids will attest that she’s crazy about reading aloud, time out of doors, and creative play. Her family’s goal is the “abundant life,” as prescribed by Jesus. You can read more posts by Jenny here.

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