I don’t know why God gave me this gift, but for as long as I can remember, I have always been able to look past the “appearance” of someone, and see their true self. For example, I had a friend who told me that she struggled with obesity. When she said this, I really thought she was joking. Not only because she is naturally hilarious, but also because I never saw her as simply her “size”. She was such a creative, funny, brilliant person that her size just never registered for me. When I told her I thought she was kidding, she got angry. Then she was confused. I tried to explain that I never seriously thought of her that way. She simply could not believe me. She had been holding on to this body image since she was a child. She could not conceive of someone not seeing her this way. I tried to explain, but she could not hear. I really and truly never thought of her as obese, but in all physical reality, she may just be obese.
Another example that comes to mind is people with disabilities. I would never have thought to call them that, but I have learned that “people with special needs” is the politically correct thing to say. I wouldn’t refer to them as either of those two things. I always just see them as people. I see how kind they are and how open they are to others. They are my friends, not my projects!
The last example of this gift is when I see certain people, I can see how they were as children. They can be the biggest, grumpiest mess of an adult, but somehow, I see them as an innocent child. I cannot really explain with words how this works, but it changes the way I interact with them. And people around me cannot understand how I could possibly be friendly to such a person. They cannot see what I see.
For many years of our marriage, my husband wondered what I was saying to people because they all seemed to want to share very intimate conversations with me. I really wasn’t saying anything. I was just appreciating them for who they really are, and they must have sensed that. They opened up and would talk with me in ways that you don’t talk to strangers. As my husband puts it, they share more with me than they may even have shared with their spouse! I am okay with this, and he is now, too. He just smiles when he hears other people start down the way-too-personal-for-normal-conversation path. He finally recognizes and appreciates my gift, too.