Looked into the big, brown eyes of a little one coming into the dining hall. 

Cute as a button, gorgeous smile, wanting so badly to shine. 

Behind those eyes, a hurting heart, scared at any moment she will be taken again.

She’s seen far too much dark in this world.

 Thankful now all she has to think about is with which toy should I play.

Looked into the eyes of a young man today sitting across the table. 

Eyes so gentle, yet masked by a rough grimace. 

Full of hatred and hardened even to someone who just wants to help.

Still completely in shock, to his world that has just been rocked. 

Though he doesn’t quite understand, now so grateful he doesn’t have to fight just to make it one more day.

Looked into the eyes of one of my students sitting in class. 

Throwing papers and desks, yelling at the others

Completely frustrated and so ready to give up

For many years now, she’s tried so hard to understand, 

find her place in this world. 

Yet she’s a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode. 

Although a moment changes everything. 

Saying it doesn’t matter what this world or others say, 

You’re loved. You’re valuable. You are important to me. 

Enough is enough. 

You are not struggling on your own anymore, now we’re a team.

Looked into the eyes of an older man. 

The grimace on his face as he painfully and carefully takes each step with his walker,

White hair, many wrinkles and poor eyesight, 

His body very frail.

Yet a pure heart of gold and a mind so full of wisdom.

He has hope, for this isn’t his home.

As I look around this world, I realize more and more every day that our children, students, friends, co-workers, those we encounter at the grocery store, the doctor’s office and on the phone are fighting battles no one knows about. Each person may conceal and deal with their struggles differently than others. Although often times, their individual stories encompass situations greater than we could even begin to fathom or understand: whether a young boy battling cancer, a little girl witnessing her parents being killed before her eyes, a man hiding from bombs going off all around him, physical diseases and ailments, abuse, neglect and list could go on. 

Thus as we begin this new phase, coming out from the crevices of COVID 19 and all of the chaos in and of itself, it is my challenge for you to strive for EYES. Eyes to look beyond yourself and the place you find yourself in…. Eyes to always see the good in others and every situation, no matter if at the surface their light appears to be all so dim… To see beyond the color of skin, age, gender, behavior or the emotional breakdown to the hurting heart…. Eyes to see ourselves and others as the beautiful, beloved children our Creator designed us to be from the start. May 2020 be the year where your eyes are opened to yourself, others and the world around you to make a difference in a way like never before. 

*Poem originally written in August 2018

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