I've been reading and hearing this phrase, "I see you," a lot in the media. I've heard Michelle Obama use it, and, most recently, Viola Davis in her tribute to Meryl Streep. It implies a deeper seeing than the surface. It refers to a true understanding and knowing of someone and their motives. It also means that you are not ignoring their voice or actions. I love this phrase and it's meaning so much, especially in this visual digital world where we scroll and consume and read, but we aren't truly listening or understanding one another. 

It makes me sad and angry to know that it takes marches of thousands of people around the world to be heard, seen and understood. And I can't help but think about this on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and with the women's march approaching (January 21st, 2017). 

If I had one super power it would be to help people truly understand one another's desires and needs. And if I could eradicate one problem it would be selfishness. This way we could help meet one other's needs on this earth, and there wouldn't be a person left out (hopefully). But here's the truth: we can actually do have this power - to understand one another and deny our selfishness. 

I know this because this is the main challenge of a marriage. Ryan and I are together every single day, and have been for almost 10 years. We know each other extremely well, but there will never be a day when I know exactly what he is thinking 100% of the time. At the root of the fights that we have as a marriage couple is misunderstanding. What we have learned through marital counseling (everyone should go, btw), is that we need to ask follow up questions before responding with answers. Some example of that are:

"What I am hearing you say is...." repeat back what you have heard the other person say.
"How does this make you feel?" try to understand their feelings behind what they are saying.
"What do you need in this moment?" Most often there is a request or a need behind the discourse.

And then once we make sure to eliminate misunderstanding with clarifying questions we can respond. That doesn't always mean we can meet each others needs, but that usually leads to some sort of compromise.

We as a society can't even get to the point of a compromise. We are just shouting back and forth at each other right now. Let's seek to truly see each other and understand each other right now. Let's ask these questions to our friends and community that we don't see eye to eye with, and love them because they are living, breathing people God has made. 

Photos by Rennai Hoefer; glasses by J. Mclaughlin