To be loved is to be seen.
There are scenes that stick with you, scenes that play with perfect clarity in your mind’s eye years later. This one came from a movie of no consequence, in a story that I don’t recall any particular attachment to—except for this scene. Susan Sarandon describes her reasons for marriage and the unspoken vows whispered at the altar—a vow that from this day forward, you will be seen.
“Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go unwitnessed because I will be your witness.”
And the simplicity of it steals your breath; the power of it resonates deep within your being.
What a sweet dream it would be to hear those words fall on your ears, you who have felt altogether unseen. And you realize you’re not alone in this.
You very much want to be the megaphone that breaks through the noise, the unwavering eyes that make that wondrously powerful promise to another person, that their life will not go unwitnessed because you will be their witness.
It’s a message that isn’t confined to an altar, to family ties, or to friendships. It’s deeply personal and universally longed for, so much so that it’s no less powerful to hear it from a stranger. That you have not escaped all notice.
You are seen.
It can be as simple as a gift, a surprise package, a box containing something for which you’ve never voiced a desire. Or something you’ve needed and done without—beautifully wrapped and placed in your hands. And it’s so much more than a gift: it’s a reminder that you are seen.
To hold the knowledge that someone is watching your life, that you are not below their notice, that the littlest details of your existence have not escaped them, that they mulled over your heart when you were not looking: this fills a part of you, which happily overflows into your whole being.
You are seen.
Some of us are listeners, some are talkers. Some are type A, some are type B, some are extroverts, and some are introverts. Some of us demand to be seen and others just hope for it. But a card in the mail, and the idea that someone thought of you without your being at their side, causes us to collectively sigh. The burden of being unseen lifts from all of our shoulders.
Beautiful, soft-pink roses show up on your doorstep, testifying to the fact that someone else considers your little victories worth celebrating, and it causes you to smile through misted eyes.
You are seen.
When that person you met in a haze of party introductions crosses a crowded room a month later to say hi because they remembered you, they remembered your name. And you treasure that, the kindness of it, but the novelty of it – of being remembered when you very much felt unseen.
Aren’t we all just aching to be seen? Some chase it, and some don’t, but we upturn our faces to soak up the sunshine pouring from the heavens, and we feel seen. We feel loved. We have the knowledge that God is watching our lives, that we are not below His notice. That the littlest details of our existence have not escaped Him. That He has mulled over our hearts when we were not looking.
We consider it a triumph of sorts to be comfortable with silences. That easy contentment of riding side by side on a long drive without the necessity of conversation. We long for this, we search for this and we revel in this because it means we’ve reached a point when we no longer feel the need to declare our existence. We know we are loved, and so we know we are seen—even when we are quiet.
“Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it.”
Love creates in us the best version of ourselves because we don’t have to ask to be noticed, and it is not a burden for us to notice the one we love.
This person next to me sees me; the Lord of all creation has seen us.