Monday, December 21, 2009

Do You Think I'm Beautiful ... Is Anyone Listening To Me?

"Have you ever watched someone mentally check out while you're talking? You stop in the middle of a word, and they never even catch it. How about when you're having a conversation and the other person keeps looking past you until they spot someone else they'd rather talk to? Ouch. Never mind how many times I've asked the children if they are listening to me. I've come to assume they are not. Miscommunication. Unanswered E-mail. Snoring husbands. Distracted friends. Is anyone really listening?" (Angela Thomas, "Do You Think I'm Beautiful?")

That was the first thing I read tonight, after spending the entire day speaking to my daughter and having her literally keep going about her business as if I wasn't there. Once I was saying something to her about dinner and she interrupted to ask me if I knew where her ball was. I have the extreme case of "checking-out" in my house ... I can't even get people to check in! There was so much about this simple paragraph that rang true for me, and not just in my relationship with Teenybop. I see bits and pieces of this in all my relationships. And it makes me wonder ... first, what makes people think they can treat other people like that? And second ... if I am taking it, then it's me. I am the one making people think that they can treat me as if I'm not there. But then we get the next question ... why do I take that?

Angela explains a bit with the next paragraph. She says, "Women ache for intimate connection. There is a desperate loneliness that settles on the heart not heard. Lonely for companionship. Lonely for expression. Lonely for affirmation." (Angela Thomas, "Do You Think I'm Beautiful?")

Women ache for intimate connection. There is a desperate loneliness that settles on the heart not heard. Are there any women out there who are reading this and nodding, perhaps with a sad little smile? Maybe you remember the good times, when you felt heard and loved by the people around you. Maybe you are stuck in not so good times ... Maybe you are feeling like me, a little invisible.

I felt those two paragraphs resound in me the way a gong can be felt almost as well as it can be heard. As I read the first paragraph, I nodded along, and each little part of that paragraph brought a certain person to mind. And as I read the second paragraph, I felt the words I have never been able to find. But God is speaking so well to me through this book, and He is showing me His own presence as I read. He is teaching me not to lean so hard on needing other people, perhaps not to need the acceptance and affirmation so much as I did before. Teaching me to notice something I may not have noticed as well before. I am accepted. I am loved, and treasured. I am affirmed. My heart has a companion who lacks no skill, who always hears even the smallest whisper. So I need to keep reading this book, keep learning and listening as my God reassures me that indeed, I am beautiful.

And another thing? I need to stop letting other people treat me as less than the beautiful child of God that I am created to be. But that poses yet another question. How do I find a balance between earning better treatment, and demanding it instead of settling for less than I deserve?