Recognizing the Other (A Lesson from a Hospital Room)

"Thank you," he muttered as I hand him a cup of water and peek at his eyes.
"You're welcome," I say with a kind smile, hoping he will return my eye contact.

He doesn't.

He rolls back over in his stiff hospital bed and peers out the window, scratches his sores that cover his arms, his legs, his face, his head.

And that's when I recognize him. 

I recognize him as the man our Lord would have healed. 
I recognize him as the son whose Father would embrace him after a long journey from home.
I recognize him as the husband who begs forgiveness for his wrongdoing.
I recognize him as the stranger I saw on the street who I walked past with regret and hurt on my heart.

I recognize him as my brother.

My brother who is made in the image of a holy and good God.
My brother whose soul is as dirty and smudged as mine, my brother who reeks of pain from his life, just as I do.

I recognize him as family.

And I turn to leave his room, lost in thought of the life he must lead, this man with sores just like mine, except his are physical, on the outside, for the world to see. Mine are hidden, stored away, coming out when I allow myself to be vulnerable, to open up, to beg my Father to take them away.

And I recognize this brother of mine.

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Today in Mass I sat next to my 8 year old niece, and as she boldly and without reserve stated the Creed: 

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.
Amen


I see him again. 
I see that stranger, that brother, that son, standing at the foot of the cross, stating boldly and without fear:

I believe.
I confess.
Amen.

We are all just children.

Standing at the foot of the cross of our Savior, having nothing to show for ourselves except for our whole entire selves: pain and sores and faults and all. Nothing to show for ourselves other than our pure hearts made to recognize the face of our Father and the faces of our brothers and sisters.

We are all just children. Walking this road together, finding our way home together, trying to be healed of our pains and our sores and our afflictions.

We are all just children.
Recognizing each other on this road.
Running full speed to our Father, with His arms outstretched, who peers into our eyes and says, "Welcome home."

In between tweeting, reading books to my daughters, and [not] burning mac n cheese, I am the Founder + Creative Director of Blessed is She women's ministry + community.