It seemed irrational to me at first — the energy of his response. I try to keep a neutral face in these moments, not wanting to convey that an 11-year-old-sized problem is suddenly now a 47-year-old-sized problem too. I wish to be like a detective in these moments of parenting, to try to search for that thing under the thing. So, I took a deep breath, looked down at the ground where he was looking, and said, “what’s wrong, buddy?”
“YOU COULDN’T EVEN SEE ME!” he said, with that fiercest of face that was a collision of mad and sad with tears about to rush out from behind his eyes.
We had just left the spring musical at school and he had danced with a girl. They were in the back row, so I had to really stretch my neck to glimpse them through the song. He saw me stretching to see him. They had been practicing for weeks, and even though he kept a cool front about it, I knew he was proud of those dance moves they had learned.
(Dear reader, I want you to know that I did see him. But no amount of explaining could reach his heart at that moment.)
And then it occurred to me like a voice from heaven, it is not irrational at all actually. The intensity of those emotions. Perhaps adulting means to pretend otherwise, I’m not sure. But what was clear was this — He wanted me to see him. He didn’t feel seen. That is not irrational, that is human. Curt Thompson says, “We are all born looking for someone who is looking for us.” Even at 11 years old he is still looking for my eyes to see him. Even at 47 years old, so am I.
We are all looking for a compassionate witness; in our joys and in our pain.
Do you see me?
Do you care?
Can I trust you are good?
God came searching for those first humans in the garden and he comes searching for us still now.
“Where are you?” God asks.
“Who told you that you were naked?
Soon after these questions, God is seen sewing clothes for Adam and Eve. One of the first acts of the creator of the universe in the wake of sin and shame is not a lecture. It is not a hurried attempt to move on to more pleasant things. It is not 3 points for achieving that miracle morning tomorrow. God’s first response is to become a seamstress, to start sewing something of worth, to create a covering for their shame. What tenderness, what compassionate care, what a God!