“I love what I see when I look at you.”

This is a line – written by Aaron Sorkin – spoken by the character Calpurnia to young Scout Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird.  HH and I got to see the play last week in NYC and I remember thinking – when I heard that line – that everybody should hear those words as least once in our lives.

I love what I see when I look at my children.

I love what I see when I look at the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team.

I love what I see when I look at our faithful church leaders.

I love what I see when I look at you.

This line falls in juxtaposition to the line from Ava Duvernay’s title When They See Us.   When the world saw Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise, and Raymond Santana we saw rapists.  Some wanted us to see rapists when we saw those young men.  In fact, I believe that some love it when we look at certain people with fear or contempt or disgust.

This is not who God created us to be.

I believe that God loves us when God looks at us.  The truth is that we are ridiculous.  We are selfish.  We are cruel.  We are unlovable.  But God still loves us.  This is not to say that God doesn’t require us to be better humans.

How do we feel when we look at immigrants, refugees, brown people, black people, golden people, white people, elderly people, queer people, people wearing MAGA hats?  Do we generally feel afraid?  Safe?  Disgusted? Judge-y?

I do not love what I see when I look at some of our political leaders or people in detention centers or people who litter or church leaders who refuse to serve those outside their comfort zones.  I love the people (only because I try to see them through the eyes of Jesus) but I don’t love the behavior or the situation or the choices made.

Is this akin to loving the sinner while hating the sin?  Actually, it’s more than that.

When we look at each other what do we feel?  It’s a question that helps me check myself.  If I feel afraid, is that my racism creeping up?  If I feel disgusted, is that my white smugness showing it’s face?  If I feel deep love, is that Jesus in me?

I was in Our Nation’s Capital last week for the Fourth of July and I felt things. There Were Feelings.

There Were Feelings when I watched so many people wearing MAGA hats in that city I love.  There Were Feelings when I saw tourists on the Metro look at sleeping people on the Metro with disdain.

I’m wondering about this.  How do we feel when we look at each other?  Not what do we think.  Not what do we see.  But what do we feel?

I wonder if feeling love when we look at each other might be a spiritual discipline to try.  Can I feel compassion and love for someone even when I don’t understand them or I disagree with them or I fear them?

Monday Challenge #1: Try saying these words to someone and mean it.  I love what I see when I look at you.

Monday Challenge #2: Try to be the people God created us to be.

Also the play was very good.

Image of Celia Keenan-Bolger and LaTanya Richardson Jackson in the play To Kill a Mockingbird at the Shubert Theatre in NYC.  They play Scout and Calpurnia, respectively.

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