When I was a little girl, I had a natural affinity for animals. I loved them all. I never owned a baby doll that I can remember, but I had a whole host of stuffed animals. I would get giddy when a National Geographic Special or a Jacques Cousteau Special would come on television. I read books about animals, I wrote school papers about animals and I looked for them everywhere I went. I could never tell you my favorite animal because I loved them all. I’m still that way, though, I am partial to the Ring Tailed Lemur.
One Christmas I got the best gift ever! Seriously, even to this day, as an adult, I don’t think anything has topped this one gift. It was a Visible Dog! It was a plastic model of a dog and all of his internal organs were separate like a model airplane. I painted all of his organs, put him together anatomically correct and covered him with his invisible plastic skin shell. I loved it! I dreamed of being a Veterinarian one day and so the Visible Dog was as close as I could get at 10 years old.
Somewhere in my life, someone told me that at midnight on Christmas Eve animals could talk. So, me, Jane Goodall junior, could care less about Santa showing up, I stayed up and tried to get my dog to talk.
When I went out, no matter where I would look for animals. I would even look for dead animals on the side of the road to see if I could identify them. Gross, I know, but the budding Veterinarian in me, didn’t care.
Now, I have to tell you about one quirky thing. I felt so much love and respect for animals that I would acknowledge them whenever I saw them. Not like the typical pig-tailed girl chasing down a kitten and petting it to death while it desperately tried to escape her vice grip. No, I mean, I would just look at them and they would look at me and we saw each other. We respectfully acknowledged each other’s existence.
I remember walking through a parking lot with my brother one day and I saw the sparrows skipping and flitting under and around the parked cars. As I walked through a troop of them I whispered, “Hello. I see you.” My brother laughed and said, “Only you would talk to the birds.”
You know the Golden Rule? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I think maybe that’s what I was doing. My family was messed up. I felt invisible. I stayed invisible so I wouldn’t rock the boat, cause any more trouble. And so, in making eye contact with one, tiny sparrow, one out of a zillion, I was doing what I wish someone would do for me. I wish someone would say, “I see you.”
To the dog tied up in the backyard, never getting to run free, I see you.
To the mangy cat digging in the dumpster behind the restaurant. I see you.
To that one indistinguishable mackerel among thousands. I see you.
I think people just want to be seen and known.
Maybe that’s why Jesus said, “What is the price of two sparrows–one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.” He knew we needed to be seen and known.
I see you, little fellow.