My cousin posted a photo of my dad from 1954. I don’t have many family photos, so there are few images in my brain of my dad when he was that young. Seeing an image can have a physical and emotional impact upon us. This was true when I saw the photo of my dad. What was he thinking? What was happening in his life when the photo was taken? Did he have hopes and dreams? What wounds was he carrying? What would I say to him at that age? Would he have anything to say to me? I have only had access to the photo for about forty-five minutes and already I treasure it. It’s complicated, but I treasure it.
I used to purchase greeting cards to give to folks who were attending weekend spiritual gatherings. Cursillo is the best example. I bought all kinds of cards with different uplifting messages on them and then I would add a personal message. My favorite of all time had this message on the front, “Jesus smiles every time he thinks of you”. I enjoyed giving this card. I believed and still believe the message. I imagine that Jesus has an image of us when he thinks about us. He sees the image perfectly. He sees us perfectly. He smiles and it is not complicated. He loves us. For me, this is a snap shot of what the Good News is. The Gospel is that Jesus looks at us and smiles. If that doesn’t give you hope, nothing will.
It could be that this is part of the assignment Jesus gave to us when he told us to love each other. Smile when you think of them. Can we manage a smile when we think of someone? If we have trouble with that, maybe we can imagine an old photograph of the person. They were younger then and it will be easier for us to smile. It would be easier for us to imagine their hopes and dreams and maybe easier for us to imagine the wounds that they carry.
Let’s make it our goal to see people the way Jesus sees them.