Maybe less. I don’t know, maybe the rest can’t see it or don’t want to see it or don’t care if they see it. But some people do have extraordinary eyesight, or perhaps perception is a better word. Like reading between the lines or into the mind of someone, this person has x-ray vision with just another person or in a crowd. He sees more than the person, he studies facial expressions and interprets movements. He seems to know what’s needed before a request is made, or even in the absence of a spoken request.
This man is the kind you might want your daughter to marry. He has the vision and the heart to recognize opportunities to do good and help others, from making the introvert feel welcome to managing large goodwill missions. Some years ago, he had a motorcycle accident which left him confined to a wheelchair. While he still has the vision and the heart to change the world around him, he no longer has the physical abilities that support the actions necessary to play out those desires himself. Yet he still is a capable, effective leader in his job, a mentor to young people, a friend to those who are wise to spend time with him and loving husband to his wife and father to his daughter. His eyes show his eagerness to help others in spite of his limitations. You see his determination to do whatever good he can with what he has in the time he’s allotted. I’m fortunate to know this man as my friend and neighbor.
To a lesser degree, I can relate to him. I was raised by a woman who loves people, knows the joy of doing good things and taught me the satisfaction of helping others. While I was prepared for and have accepted the physical effects from MS, I was in no way ready for the onslaught of emotions that would invade my life. The most dramatic effect that I am faced with as a result of this illnesses, is the inability to help others and the frustration that leaves me left with. My days are filled with tasks I can no longer do for my husband and children and others around me. From a small movement of an arm to an afternoon given freely, the list of wishes is endless. Wish I could open that door for the person with arms full. Wish I could swiftly but subtly maneuver through a crowd to talk to the person standing alone. Wish I could watch that young mom’s kids to give her a break. Wish I could help my kids move into a new place. Wish I could make a meal for the friend who just had surgery. Seeing a need and not being able to fill it is, in a way, an emotional form of torture – especially when others don’t see the need and it goes unmet. I have moved from a place of helping others to humbly becoming the person who needs help – not what I have been trained for. Not what I bargained for.
Whether this special vision is an inborn personality trait or a learned behavior, its difficult to understand that others don’t think the same way and see the same needs; so the person who easily sees a need in others usually has his own needs unmet because he is too unselfish to ask for what is perceived to him as obvious.
My friend and neighbor shared once that between he and his wife, he is the more particular about how things are done. And I know what that means – with his limitations, he is unable to execute his way of doing things and must at the same time be content with the way his wife and others see the task as complete. I’m sure she and others do things well. I’m sure there are many cases where he would do the task differently, maybe better or more efficiently. It’s the same at my house. The tasks I’ve honed for many years now belong to someone else. It takes effort to explain what I would do and why in a situation, and then I must let others do things their way. Frustration.
It seems like so many of the people who have this x-ray vision of sorts end up being the ones who are tortured with the inability to take action. We could call it irony. We could call it unfair. I think I’ll just call it ridiculous. I’m sure I’m supposed to learn something from this – sure wish I knew what it was.
Are you one of them? Are you so in tune to other people that you can see what they need before they see it themselves? Are you perceptive in that way? If you are, then do you act on it, or do you quietly wait to see if someone else will jump up and be helpful? My neighbor and I can’t do it anymore. We’re hoping you will.