See Me

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Last week, I heard a sermon about the Samaritan woman at the well and it profoundly affected me. And I know what you’re thinking, that I’m going to get all preachy on you. But that’s not where I’m going…um, I suppose I might get a little preachy. 

Anyway, the Good Samaritan is fairly familiar to most of us. We have a law in many states that’s based on the story (The law protects someone who renders emergency aid from incurring liability if something goes wrong). And the Samaritan woman at the well is also a story of a person giving help to someone in need (in this case, Christ). Most sermons draw on Christ’s words about living water, which of course, is pretty much the main point. But there’s another point I’d never considered… 

To begin with, Samaritans did not mix with Jews. And this particular woman, alone and getting water in the middle of the noon-day sun, indicates that she did not mix with the other women, either. She was shunned because, as Christ already knew, she’d had five husbands. Her life was one of shame, of being ostracized; she was basically not seen by other members of the community. But Christ, a Jew, saw her. He drank water from her, spoke to her. 

It was life-changing for the Samaritan woman; she listened to the words Christ had to say because He saw her

 As often happens when I’m thinking about what to write here, an idea having to do with writing will meet with a moment from my life. And as I pondered that Sunday sermon, I thought of the woman I’d met just the day before; we were volunteering together. 

Now, what are the chances I’d meet someone my age, also a widow, who was also a writer? I’d say astronomical unless one is at a writer’s conference. So naturally, she shared what she was working on and it was all very impressive. A little daunting, if I’m being honest. Then she asked what I wrote and at first, I…well, I stammered a bit but off I went, full steam ahead into what I used to work on. 

For years, my identity as a writer came from children’s publishing, and I wanted her to see me as a professional. So I spoke of my past accomplishments, my published books, my expert credentials. I mean, I’m only human, y’all. I wanted to be seen as a writer of value. 

After a time of of talking about everything but what I was actually doing now, I thought This is not me. So I told her I was writing a mystery and self-publishing and that most days it was a lot of fun and a lot to learn. But we also spoke of the single life and dogs that are terrors and wines that are sublime. 

That’s how I see me, or at least a bit closer to the truth. And my new friend saw me, I hope, as a very happy and grateful person who’s enjoying her latest writing journey. 

A simple sermon and an eye-opening look at myself helped me see the light. And I hope you see the light in you, see your value as whatever (a writer, a poet, a playwright!) or whoever you’re on the journey to become. And that when you meet another writer, you'll take a moment to see them, not as what they do but who they are

So fine, I’m being a little preachy but don’t you feel like shouting an “Amen!” along with me?


Renee Roberson said...

Amen! I love this message. I was talking with a friend of mine recently, and she was feeling down on herself because she left her career 15 years ago to become a full-time mom. She was with a group of people at dinner and felt like she had no value to add to the conversation. I reminded her of all the volunteer work she's done in that time, including fostering children, adopting a child, and now working as a Guardian ad Litem in a neighboring county. These are all things she always wanted to do as a career, so they may look a bit different, but I hope she allows people to see her that way, too.

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