I live a fairly fast-paced life. I work full time as an event planner for a private school and have two teenagers that each have significant passions in addition to their school work (neither of whom drive yet). This means I spend a lot of time driving to schools, church, cello lessons, horse stables, etc. The thing about being in the car is that we don’t look each other in the eyes, for obvious safety reasons. But looking in someone’s eyes is paramount to relationship.
Looking someone in the eyes takes time, it takes focus, it takes intention, it takes compassion and it shows extreme care. When someone truly looks into my eyes, I find a different form of myself. I find someone who really listens, who doesn’t think while the other is talking, who considers the words being shared with a softer heart, and who is affected by the exchange. Sitting at coffee recently with a friend, I was struck by the way it feels to truly listen and to be listened to. I think relationships fall apart when we stop looking each other in the eyes.
I believe that Jesus looked directly into people’s eyes and in those moments bore through all their stuff and into their souls. And He took the time. Remember the woman who believed she could be healed solely by touching the hem of Jesus’ garment? Matthew 9:20-22 says, “Just then a women who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, ‘If I only touch His cloak, I will be healed.’ Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart, daughter,’ He said, ‘your faith has healed you.’” In the throngs of people around him, pushing toward him, trying to get a glimpse of him, Jesus stopped, and saw her, looked her in the eyes and spoke to her. Can you imagine that? Don’t you think she felt something beyond her physical healing in that moment?
I have a friend who used to teach middle school. She had an autistic boy in one of her classes. His name was Jacob. Looking people in the eyes can be a challenge for people with Autism. On back to school night, Jacob’s grandfather walked up to my friend and said, “Just remember to have Jacob look you in the eyes when you are speaking to him. He’s my boy!” Of all the concerns that this grandfather could have had and of all the topics that could have been discussed, his top of mind concern was that Jacob be reminded to look his teacher in the eyes. Don’t we all need that reminder, all the time?
I am on a mission to look my kids in the eyes more often. And to not look and glance away but to truly look them in the eyes and listen to what they are saying. Looking people in the eyes with intention and care can change people. I want my kids to develop the habit of taking the time to look people in the eyes. It will separate them from the world, define them as caring individuals. It will cause them to feel more, to study people, just as Jesus did. I believe Jesus took the time to look people in the eyes, each and every time he interacted with them. It is hard to be angry or frustrated when you are truly looking someone in the eyes with intention. As a society, we run the risk of losing this intense communication and insight. If we practice looking others in the eyes, we practice patience, we practice goodness, we practice kindness, we practice sharing ourselves and we practice seeing others.
Our eyes truly are the windows to our souls. You can see hurt, sadness, anger, joy, excitement and a myriad of other emotions. What I want people to see in my eyes and my kid’s eyes… is Jesus.
By His Grace