Looking for what I already have
A friend walked in my house the other day, peeling off her winter layers. She stopped mid-step, looked down, and began to retrace her steps in search of something. She voiced that she had lost one of her gloves somewhere in between the short walk from the door to the kitchen. Oblivious to the fact that the Velcro on her jacket had snatched her glove so that it stuck so perfectly under her scarf just outside of view, she asked if I had seen it. What was such a mystery to her was so obvious to me, as I couldn’t help but see the glove waving at me from the front of her coat. Pulling it from her coat like a magic trick, I gave her the glove. I laughed and then she laughed, realizing how it must have looked.
So often I, too, go looking for what is right under my nose. I go looking for love in different places, retracing my steps and searching high and low for something I am already holding. Like the glove, I know love resides somewhere near, as I have felt it before and been warmed by it, but it is out of sight, and therefore out of reach. The figurative “Velcro” of that one condescending comment has swiped my awareness of feeling loved. Or maybe the “Velcro” is someone not inviting me to the party where all my friends are going to be. Maybe the “Velcro” that pulls love out of sight is a lifetime of being taught that love must somehow be earned. So many scenarios hide the presence of love, making me doubt my value and worth.
When I can’t see that I am loved, I certainly try to find it; I hunt endlessly for it in places like work, friendships, or relationships. Metaphorically, I will stand on my head and run my hands under the couch, reaching as far as I can amidst the clutter and dust. Knowing I am loved can feel like a mystery when I lose a loved one, when I am betrayed, when I am feeling lost myself, or when I am seeing pain and heartache in those around me. It makes me ask where Jesus is and makes me question His love. But thanks be to God that though love often feels out of sight, it is right under my nose. The truth can get lost in the short distance between my head and my heart, so that others are needed to point out the obvious when I simply cannot see. Henri Nouwen writes of the cross that, “Where God’s absence was most loudly expressed, His presence was most profoundly revealed.” Moreover, the cross is where to look in order to see the truth of His love waving at me.
Mollie Johnston is a Counselor for The Barnabas Center. She has her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Tennessee where she majored in Spanish as well as her Master of Arts in Christian Counseling from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She is especially passionate about helping individuals who are working through grief, doubts, trauma, relationships, anxiety, depression, self-esteem/identity issues, seasons of loneliness, family of origin issues, and divorce.