Since everyone on the planet has probably seen a scientific detective television show, we each know about fingerprints, footprints and the printed trail left by DNA. We’ve become almost calloused as we have become educated by such shows as CSI, NCIS and Rizzoli and Isles. These prints and evidence are so certain, substantial and solid compared to a print of far more importance, and that is the print we leave upon the hearts of those we meet, love or with whom we simply interact in any business or medical setting.
It’s an extremely self-centered world in which we find ourselves these days and most of us are busy looking out for what will work for us, what we can enjoy and also surviving what we must endure. We seldom look at each other as we busily text away, even while walking up the street, oblivious to the world around us in a somewhat dangerously self-involved manner. Many of us here on this blog understand constantly what we are presented with as far as health problems and all the ramifications of these changes and their effect on each corner of our lives. Health issues, pain and suffering drizzle over all parts of our lives like a glass of spilled milk; socially, economically and in our daily haunts or inability to lead our usual lives. Self-centeredness creeps into our lives and can take over and dominate if we let it.
Like many of you, I have discovered a little jewel which is part of a huge treasure that is, like many treasures, hidden in plain sight. It lies in the interaction between us and our fellow humans. Each individual we meet is a jewel or at the very least, a story to be told. Life is a library, a jewelry store and thesaurus of possibilities and it’s available via our fellows. We each lose so many opportunities for kinship along the way without even realizing that’s what we’re doing. We often have far more in common with others than we realize. We have more in common with them than a mere superficial interaction reveals. We pass them in the market, sit next to them in offices and live next door to them.
When we begin to see our fellow beings as jewels or untapped treasures, it seems a pity there are millions we will never truly meet, or know. There are millions who could enrich our lives but we will never know, will we? Each of our fellow humans has something going on in their lives that would surprise us, shock us perhaps, and also warm our hearts. Each of us is a complicated creature full of hopes and dreams, failures and disappointments as well as accomplishments and talent.
I’m not advocating a trek to get to know everyone in the world because we each know that’s absurd. What I am trying to say is there is more to each individual we brush up against, talk with and casually know than we initially realize. Reaching out to each other is often awkward, such as chatting on an airplane. Some folks want to talk, others do not. Some individuals want to keep business and medical procedures all teetering on the business end and others love to tell you the story of their lives, challenges and families. Others just value their privacy. I respect that and have felt that way at times, but usually, not.
I seem to have the habit of getting to know various individuals life brings to me and I enjoy that quality…if it is a quality. It could be interpreted many ways; perhaps I’m snoopy, curious or just plain rude. I hope that is not the case. I tell myself it is “just me.” I love people and find them intriguing. As I’ve previously stated, they are each treasures of the ups and downs of life and all of its possibilities and triumphs.
As most of you know, I have just completed six weeks of radiation therapy for breast cancer. On my last two days, the positioning on the table was uncomfortable for me and the technicians were very considerate. At the end of the last treatment a young tech said to me, “I’m so sorry we hurt you so badly. I feel awful about your burns.”
This struck me as one of those special connections and I replied, “Oh no. You have to look at this situation completely in a different way. You didn’t hurt me. You have saved my life.” She thanked me and said she hadn’t look at it that way. It was the truth…I hope.
The burns have been painful and extensive due to my years of methotrexate treatment and now I have the recovery to face each day. As many of you know, one of my favorite coping skills which always brings a smile to my face is to sing. I usually choose “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen. Nobody knows my sorrow,” drawing out the sorrow in my best alto voice. I usually can’t make it through the song without smiling at my ludicrous assumption my troubles are greater than those of someone else.
A few weeks ago I watched a wonderful old all colored film called CABIN IN THE SKY. In that film Ethel Waters sings a song that has been bringing me a deep comfort ever since I heard it. I have always loved the song but it has now become my mantra.
It was written by Civilla D. Martin in 1905 as she was inspired by a couple she admired. Surrounded by obstacles as the wife was bedridden and had been for twenty years and the husband used a wheelchair to manage going about his own life and business. One day Civilla asked Mr. and Mrs. Dolittle how they could have so much faith and be such an inspiration to others and Mrs. Dolittle replied, “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”
Civilla wrote the poem and sent it to songwriter Charles H. Gabriel who set it to music. Today I would like to share that song with you to read or to hum along if you know the melody.
HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW
Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart feel lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.
His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.
I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.
It’s a comforting, fine thing to know we are being watched over, isn’t it? I hope you find comfort in that truth as well as finding comfort in the lives of others as we all rejoice in the lives we have been given and make the very most out of them. Enjoy the heartprints you leave and those you receive. They are the prints that truly matter.