Seeing Through God’s Eyes
By Sarah Komisky
“…you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
– Matthew 22:39 (NKJV)
Holding the hands of two people from the other side of the world, I joyfully spun in a circle at one of the best parties I have ever been to. No, it wasn’t a wedding, birthday, or even some festival but a concert in the park. With joy inexpressible, it all happened on a dance floor to the backdrop of live music. It was a time that crossed cultures, language barriers, and even disabilities. I was given the opportunity to dance.
Since I was a little girl, I have grown up in a home where differences were celebrated and the people with them were respected. My Mom, a special education teacher and my Dad, a man who always rooted for the underdog, were both passionate about instilling these values in me which is why you can say I was destined to have the same heart.
Desiring to teach me to see the world through God’s eyes, I began to look through a lens where people who were different were simply people like you and me.
Encouraging me to play, converse, and care for those with intellectual disabilities, I became fearless. You have to remember that in my world, Barbie had friends of all different nationalities (even a friend who had a disability found by my parents to help introduce me to the subject). Sunday school meant befriending a new kid in my class and days with Mom meant spontaneous adventures like babysitting a blind neighbor’s cat or visiting a girl in my class who only spoke Spanish and making valentines so she would feel she was included. My early memories were filled with people the world saw as “different”: visiting my Granny’s home for the elderly with Alzheimer’s disease, talking to a child with an intellectual disability at the lunch tables, and excitedly telling my parents that I made friends with someone from Kenya! This mentality followed with me as a teen as I volunteered with special needs on campus, went to winter formal with my guy friend who had cancer, and talked with Athletes, Cheerleaders, outsiders, foreign exchange students, Punkers, Hippies, Bando’s, and Straight edgers (yes this was awhile ago) to name a few.
So, fast forward many years later and I find myself at a park with visitors from another country. They wave “Hi!” sweetly and file in their seats as honorary guests. The MC (master of ceremonies) welcomes Macau, China from the Special Olympics and the Reggae band begins to play. Without hesitation our visitors were the first to hit the dance floor. Uninhibited and carefree they jump, bounce, sway, and twirl to the beat as if no one was watching. Then onlookers are faced with a choice: stay sitting or start dancing? It’s a choice that comes to us all. Will we let our guard down? Will we abandon insecurity, fear, and whatever social norm we think we need to have? Will we take a step forward? Even if it’s just to the dance floor?
My Mom and I did. Half the time we were so giddy that we didn’t even notice the hundreds around us. Or even the people who were unsure or too afraid to engage. Our guests were more important. Stepping forward to be the ones that didn’t let something like fear let us miss the opportunity, we embraced moments we will probably remember forever. To see the smiles, the laughter, and joy were priceless treasures that came from abandonment of self. Enjoying life, these people with intellectual disabilities live free and feel the love and acceptance from those that look beyond their intellectual disabilities. I believe that’s what they felt that night in the hand that held theirs, the smile they received, and the person who was having fun beside them and it’s this love that God is calling us to give.
Jesus was like that. He took time to reach out to the leper, the blind, and the lame. He went to the home of a tax collector, healed a woman who was demon possessed, and talked to a despised Samaritan woman. Jesus didn’t see difference. He loved. He bestowed compassion. He welcomed. He respected. So maybe we should follow His example. Maybe we should abandon what we or others think and look like Jesus. Maybe we should start looking through his eyes of the world and then we will experience moments of great blessing and joy we probably would not know through the eyes of fear. Photo by Erin Hamilton