As a PSW I’m privy to a lot of personal information, but I have found that it’s the personal information the client gives me that means the most to me.
I am constrained by law to not divulge the personal health history and diagnosis as well as their name, address & phone number. But, I am apprehended by integrity and conscience to guard the secrets of their lives which they share with me during the brief moments I am with them.
They tell me stories of bygone days, they tell me their youthful hopes and dreams, they share their greatest accomplishments and show me pictures of their family, but what humbles me most is when they tell me their disappointments and fears. They have just let me into that part of their life they may never have told another person.
In the movie Shall We Dance Susan Sarandon tells the private eye guy that marriage is saying to your spouse, “. . . . Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness'."
In essence this is what we are all here for isn’t it? To let every person we meet know that “You matter, I ‘see’ you; your life will not go un-witnessed”.
This isn’t easy in our busy world. This isn’t easy as we are sometimes so focused on our own life that scads of people come and go and we’ve barely acknowledged them or even remembered at day’s end that we’ve even interacted with them in any way, never mind in any meaningful way.
But this is what Jesus did. Think for a moment about those interactions he had as he walked along His daily life. Yes he interacted with many people, but what about Zaccheus, the widow walking behind the coffin of her only son, Mary who washed his feet with her tears and the little children who clamored to be next to Him? What about the man who lay beside the pool with no way to get in when the waters stirred, or Jairus’ daughter who just died?
Jesus didn’t brush them aside because He had a mission to accomplish, the ‘big picture’ of why He came. Jesus took time, in the face of irritated disciples and the pressing journey He was on, to tell those people He met, “You matter to me”, “You are valued” and “Your life has not gone un-witnessed by Me”.
I also think of the ‘neighbour’, a.k.a. the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) who took time out of his busy life to look after the needs of the man who was robbed and thrown by the wayside. Talk about major inconvenience! Time and personal finances were not an issue for the man who witnessed the distress of the man in the ditch. He gave of his resources to meet the needs presented to him, while the others who walked by closed their eyes and chose not to ‘see’ or give aid. The Good Samaritan told the beaten man, “I ‘see’ you, your life has not gone un-witnessed”.
The longer I live the more I realize how important it is to be a witness to another’s life. Many people will come and go as we journey on, what will we do with them? Will we pass them by without seeing them? Will we deal with them as an inconvenience to be dealt with so we can ‘get on’ with our own lives? If you are like me, sometimes you rush through life hardly noticing the people who intersect with your life on a daily basis.
Hebrews 13:2 says Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Not, I think, just strangers but sometimes our own family members with whom we interact often and whom we love.
We can go on about our day and be so distracted we pay little attention to the people we live with!
Following Jesus is going to be inconvenient. If we belong to Jesus we are not going to get away with being selfish and walking through this life not noticing others. And, following Jesus means being a witness to them that they matter enough to stop and take the time needed. We are going to answer to every life that we didn’t take time enough to tell them, ‘I see you, you matter to me, you matter to God, your life is of great value’.
Otherwise we will be like the two religious men who crossed to the other side of the road leaving someone physically, emotionally or spiritually bleeding on the other side.
As a PSW I am in their house to meet their physical needs. But as a Christ follower I am also a witness to their lives that tells them they will not go un-witnessed. I have to become aware of them as emotional and spiritual people, not just a physical body I’m helping with. I am also a witness to them of the love God has for them and sometimes I am the only one to demonstrate that love, to witness not just their life, but witness to them of God and like Francis of Assisi said, “Preach Jesus and sometimes use words”.
This is me, an imperfect and simple Girl on a Journey of learning to slow down, take note and be a witness.