A few weeks ago, a friend gave me a gift, and it was the nicest gesture. It made my day. As I reflected on the gift, it reminded me of one of my favorite movies - The Mirror Has Two Faces, with Barbra Streisand and Jeff Bridges.
The scene that came to mind is one where Rose (Barbra) and Gregory (Jeff) are enjoying dinner at a nice restaurant. At this point in the story, they have been in a platonic friendship for quite a while, and he is starting to realize he loves her. The waiter asks what they want for dinner, and Greg orders for Rose. She’s pleasantly surprised as he orders her favorite menu items, even down to her ride-or-die “extra glop of salad dressing.”
When their salads arrive, Greg begins to narrate how Rose eats her salad with perfect precision. He refers to her “loading of the fork” as his favorite part. The look on her face as this unfolds gets me every time. It’s the look of someone who is known and appreciated, quirks and all.
There have been a handful of times when I’ve had a similar experience of being known or understood by another person. It really is powerful. It says very clearly, “You are not alone. I see you.” It’s like a Red Bull and a warm blanket at the same time straight to the heart.
One memory that never fades is when a close friend told another friend why I wasn’t participating in a physically strenuous activity with the larger group. My decision was related to a health issue, and he knew it. He didn’t overshare or disclose too much information. He shared just enough to keep additional questions from being asked, and to make me realize he really saw me. I was incredibly grateful.
The gift that was given to me a few weeks ago had a similar effect. I was under a lot of stress with things happening at work. Long hours, lots of details and quick deadlines.
On the verge of tears, I was talking to two friends, and I felt like I needed to laugh. You know those moments? The ones where if you don’t lean back into a belly laugh you’re going to slump forward in a mess of tears?
I asked them if I could share a funny story. They indulged me and even laughed with me as I recounted something that amused me. My shoulders relaxed a little as the endorphins flooded in and the tears dried up before spilling over. My friends’ listening ears and chuckles of solidarity helped me so much.
As our conversation ended, I said, “I think laughter is one of my love languages. It just helps me let go of things and makes things better.”
The next day, one of those friends gave me a very sweet card and a book full of lighthearted, amusing sayings and snarky wordplay. As I flipped through the book and laughed, it almost brought tears to my eyes.
When was the last time you felt this way? Who notices what you say or the way you load your fork at dinner? What is it that makes you feel seen and known?
If anyone out there is feeling invisible or unknown today, you’re in my prayers. I’ve been there and no doubt will be again. It’s hard and lonely. I encourage you to ask God if he sees you and knows you. There’s no one with better vision or more intimate insight into who you are and what you need.
Up next: I come from a long line of nick-name loving people. It gets down right silly and odd sometimes. Naturally, you’ll want to hear about it.
Catch up: If you’re new to the blog, you can get to know me on the about page. Glad you’re here!