Making the Invisible Visible

A dear friend sent this video to me yesterday and I think it speaks to many of us who feel or have felt "invisible."

But as much as I appreciate what she has to say, I feel the need to point something out.

Although the speaker, Nicole Johnson, seems happy to be associated with the unknown builders of the great cathedrals, I can't help but wonder if what spoke to her most was that someone (the friend who gave her the book--and God) could "see" her. In fact, in this video she's standing in front of a huge audience and she has even written a book,
The Invisible Woman: A Special Story for Mothers. Obviously she is no longer invisible.

Not all of us need fame, but I do think all of us need to be seen and heard, especially in our own homes. And as difficult as it might be to realize, I think it is true what "they" say: we teach others how to treat us.

I'd like to use her example to show what I mean.

She says she would walk into a room and say, "Turn the TV down please." And no one would answer so she would get louder. "Turn the TV down please!" Finally, she would go over and turn the TV down herself.

(Nicole said "please" but can you see that her statement is still a demand rather than a request?)

And her other example, of going to a party with her husband: when she is ready to leave she is unable to get her husband's attention because he is talking to someone else. But she says she just goes over to him and stands there without saying anything.

Boy, can I relate to her on these examples! But I wonder what would have happened if she had simply expressed her needs, rather than yelling or waiting to be seen.

What would have happened if she had said, "The TV is so loud that it's hurting my ears. Would you be willing to turn it down?" Or maybe, "When the TV is that loud I can't hear ___(fill in the blank). Can you still hear what you're watching if you turn it down?"

What would have happened if instead of just going to stand by her husband at the party she had said, "Excuse me. I'm sorry to interrupt but I'm getting tired and would like to go home. Are you almost ready to go?" (How was her husband supposed to know what she wanted without her saying anything?)

Like Nicole, I want my child to want to come home. But I also want her to see, hear, respect and appreciate me because that is how she will treat others (and herself) as she goes out into the world.

Yes, God sees and knows us better than we know ourselves and the "invisible" work of being a mother often goes unnoticed and unappreciated. But our loved ones can only hear and respond to what we need with understanding if we express ourselves in ways they can hear without criticism, judgment, blaming or making demands.

We all have the same
deep needs and it is okay for them to be met. Allowing ourselves to remain invisible in our own households doesn't serve anyone, least of all God.