Somehow, I have become invisible.
In a couple of weeks, I will turn 41 (which means I will no longer just be 40, but will officially be “in my forties”- BLECH!!!) I have noticed recently when out in public, shopping, etc., that apparently, I am invisible. It seems people are able to look right through me, and not even notice that I am there. I have heard people who are disabled or morbidly obese describe this phenomenon. It’s really too bad that I haven’t learned to use this new superpower of invisibility to my benefit, say to listen in on certain conversations or pretend I am just not there when someone needs something for the umpteenth time.
It is bad enough when I am invisible to strangers, but it is really amazing that lately I am invisible to my teenage daughter. Last night we were out at a rehearsal for a community theater production that we are both in. She managed to avoid me most of the night, she was hanging out with her friends. Fine, I get that, she doesn’t want to hang out with her mom. But suddenly as we got in the car, all of that endless energy that she had for her friends evaporated and she was too tired to talk to me. Which, again, I can handle. But then she and her friend in the back seat start texting each other so they can have a private conversation in the car and make little comments and exclude me. I told them both how incredible rude it was. I have been relegated to the role of taxi driver who should be there to drive but should not really be there. Quite like how the refrigerator gets restocked and dishes get washed and dentist appointments get scheduled and clean laundry magically appears in the closets and drawers- all seemingly by some mysterious and invisible force. I came home and cried and cried, I was cut to the bone by a seemingly tiny incident, but to me it was just a precursor to what is to come- to get older, to become more invisible (unneeded?) in my children’s lives, to become less valuable in the eyes of our society which glorifies youth and beauty.
Even this morning when I awoke I was licking my wounds, thinking about how her actions and attitude had hurt me. And suddenly, sorrow and realization swept over me- God, is this how I treat You? Running to You when I need something or have a problem, but not really seeing You? Do I avoid spending time with You when my other “friends” (hobbies, work, chores, television) are around? Do I break Your heart the way mine feels broken right now? I am sorry, so sorry, God. I understand better now. You don’t want to be invisible in my life. You want me to see You for everything You are, not just for what You can do for me, not just for a fall back plan when I can’t seem to make things go my way on my own. You want me to need You and want to be with You, to not be too busy for You.
There is a great little book by Nicole Johnson called “The Invisible Woman.”
I love this quote:
Maybe disappearing can become a matter of choice. Maybe I can use invisibility as a disguise for covert love operations. Maybe I can use anonymity as a means of not drawing attention to myself, and fade into the background whenever I need or want. Perhaps invisibility is a gift, given to me for a greater purpose than I had previously seen…I can stop searching for my reflection in others and allow God the opportunity to answer the question in my soul…Invisibility is not inflicted upon me, it is a gift to help me truly serve.
Maybe being invisible isn't so bad.