(the year of rachel was briefly interrupted by the martian death flu. we're all up and running now, though - go team!)
while i was sick, i read 'paper towns' by john greene. it's a story of young adulthood, and an enjoyable mystery/character study. there are lots of small insights on what it means to be human, to grow up and the inevitable changes of our relationships, but this stood out to me as though it were lit from the inside.
"When did we see each other face-to-face? Not until you saw into my cracks and I saw into yours. Before that, we were just looking at ideas of each other, like looking at your window shade but never seeing inside. But once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out.”
i hesitate to extrapolate too much - the words speak so beautifully for themselves. maybe it's just worth noting that madly papering over our own cracks and maintaining our facade of wholeness is what keeps us from being truly seen, truly known. and if there is one thing i truly, deeply believe we all need, it is that. nothing is more powerful than knowing someone sees you. sees into your cracks, and recognizes the light that that shines out, however dimly.
it is also worth noting, i think, that when we are so busy plastering over our chips and fractures we can't rightly see anyone else. if we bother to notice their presence at all, it's only to take stock of whether or not they see us as whole and umarred - they are only the measure of the success or failure of our hasty repairs. we aren't looking for the light in them at all - we are not "face to face" as john greene puts it.
everything is presented to us whole - shiny and new. and if it's not whole, it's definitely less. we apologize for driving an old car even though it goes from a - b. we are embarrased to wear last years shoes, have 2nd hand clothes, to have a non-hd, non-56", non-apple tv. no wonder we are so ashamed that we are not shiny and new. our life has not fallen out of a magazine, and neither has our skin, our families, our beach bodies. and so we plaster and sand and paint and cover and rearrange the furniture of our lives to hide the stains. but in the long run, all that does is isolate us. keep us alone. keep us from being able to be seen - and maybe even more of a loss, keeps us from being able to be the one who sees. who is able to look into someone else and give them the gift of recognizing their light.