What I consider weakness, the Lord uses as strength. What I see as a hindrance, the Lord turns into an asset.
All my life I have felt invisible and unimportant. I had a desire to accomplish great things that would make an impact on the world, so I had to connect with the “right people”.
This was an ongoing struggle – whenever I attempted to make those crucial connections, I was overlooked. Each time I went to an event I believed could lead to a life-changing moment, I was left feeling empty and a failure.
I would always blame God and question Him. I was doing everything in my power to use the life He had given me as an opportunity to change the world for the better, but I ended up with doors being shut in my face. What was I doing wrong? Maybe I was not looking in the right places and not placing my trust in God, although I believed I was.
On the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, at the Mass I attended, the priest spoke of Mary’s many gifts. He mentioned subtlety, which I had never heard described before.
The priest used the example of Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth. A young pregnant woman taking on a long journey through treacherous landscapes all by herself without WiFi, cell phones or cars – the priest emphasized the lack of modern technology that would have helped when the roads were difficult and thieves were everywhere. How could Mary possibly have survived that journey on her own?
The answer lay in her subtlety – by the grace of the Holy Spirit, He allowed her presence to be felt but not intrusive, so she reached her cousin’s home in safety.
I thought of my days living in New York City, walking the streets late at night after work. The streets of New York are easily as dangerous as the roads Mary traveled. More than a few times, my path was crossed by rather aggressive individuals hassling other walkers for money or food. They would approach everyone ahead of me, but when I finally passed by, it seemed as though they didn’t see me.
I used to feel my invisibility was a curse; I wasn’t significant enough to be acknowledged, but now I realize it was a gift. I resolved to place my faith in the Lord and trust that He will put the correct people in my path who will see me.
I was back in New York City this weekend and stopped in a church with a chapel open to all for prayer. I had endured a long and strenuous morning and while I was in the chapel, a man approached me and asked for $20 for food. I was somewhat taken aback – I am used to people asking for money, but $20 seemed a bit excessive.
Nevertheless, there was an aura of kindness about him. I truly believe in the influence of the Holy Spirit and the importance of listening to His subtle promptings. There was a peace about this man unusual for a person living in New York City.
He asked me if I was an actress and when I told him I wasn’t, he said I should be because I looked like one. He continued on to say he was a comedian, trying to be discovered by NBC. The question about being an actress was most likely a line designed to get money, but I felt there was some sincerity behind it. I have no desire to be an actress, but it was a career I once considered, and it was affirming to hear that someone, albeit a total stranger, thought I could be one.
Nothing happens by coincidence, and I am sure this man was placed in my path to see me, and that I might see him. I gave him $5 and hope he used it for food. The short interaction we had was uplifting, and provided me with strength to get through the rest of my day. Perhaps it helped him in the same way.
Our meeting was also a reminder that the Lord is in charge and only allows the “right people” to enter our lives at certain times – when they do, we need to pay attention. We are all called to be in community with one another, for we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. When we are open to recognizing our fellow brothers and sisters as such, we can change each others’ lives for the better, even if only in small ways.
Thanks to the Lord’s blessings, I understand that I am not invisible. I am fully seen by my Creator and Father, who is the only person that counts. By placing my life completely in His hands, He has the ability to use me and make me visible to the people He chooses. If I put Him first, ahead of my own desire to be seen, I can walk in confidence (and subtlety), knowing that everything I do will be done for the glory of God.
Originally posted at Kitty in the City.
Image: Violet Parr, Invisible Girl, The Incredibles (2004)