What do you see? Part 2.

A series:

  1. “What do I see?” October 28

powerful women, scared women

acts of justice, crimes of hate

hurting bodies, raw souls

coloring leaves, widening futures

lack of awareness, need for story

texts from dad, love note from God

sunlight peering in, light claiming my day

trees changing shape, “Katie, pay attention”

what you see is constantly changing

calling attention, teaching lesson

showing a way, creating a path

look up, look up, look up



to move, to create, to speak, to write.

we must see.

see first. walk second.

pause, observe.

see through another lens.

another perspective.

look closer, see again.

magnify another’s view over our own.

see through them, both.

and as we move, look again.

and as we write, look deeper.

and as we speak, look further.

push sight to new places.

new scenes, see the unseen



my mom first taught me how to see. She told me stories, the day-in day-out of a social worker. A woman who sees the unseen in her job, and sees past where work says stop, sees further to the depths of the person on the other side of the desk. I see because of her.

Now my friends. They show me how. They see for me. When I have no strength, when I forget how, when I think seeing is only for certain people. They call me and ask what I’ve seen. And I remember to see again, to invite others to see, too. Even just for the seeing itself. Oh, to see.


Iiii.  What do I see Nov 17

“I would grab her face like this,

and I would look at her face.

It was like she was looking at me,

But not really seeing.

I said, ‘Mama, what do you see?’

She said, ‘I’m looking at your hair.”

“Julie, she said that the other day.

She said she was looking at your hair.”

Looking, but not seeing.

Mawmaw looked at Mama’s hair

But was seeing something else

Seeing Jesus’ face

Looked at Mama’s face

But was seeing something else

Seeing Mimama’s heaven smile

Looking and seeing,

There must be a difference.

When I look at people,

Do I look past them? See their

Mistakes instead? See their

Past instead? See their

False self instead? See their

Categories and types instead?

Do I see, them?

Do I look past, the clutter?

To see them?

For me, to see.

For them, to be seen.



 I see good.

I must name it or I forget.

List it long, write it down.

I see the good but get distracted,

Stirred up by all the other,

Forget to just be in the good.

That’s okay too,

Little ole me

That’s okay too.


Katie Lynch

In about all things I see the silver lining.

I call it gold.

I see it.

I see the gold, but often it is gilded.

The deeper you look, the duller it shines.

Oh I see it.

I see your side and hers.

I see your words pick at her and start to break her. Why do you break her down? Isn’t she yours, yours to build up.

Yet your words are building,

building a wall of resentment.

I see her behind the wall.

And I see her do it too. Her words pick at your sores and break you down too.


But I see past the words.

I see the hurt. I see the tiredness. The tired eyes upon that wall you’ve help build. I see you paralyzed before the wounds. Unable to fix.

Weak, yet strong in mouth.

Hear me, I see your hurt.

I see it hurts me too.

I see your side and theirs.

I see your humility so strong.

I see it mistaken for weakness and matched with a handout.

I see your love for your child, so selfless and active.

I see it mistaken for neglect.

I see your daily ambition, your resilience.

I see people only see lazy.

I see your years, your lifetime of fight.

I see people only glimpse one scene and make up their mind of who you are.


I lean in and I see more and more.

Thank you for letting me in.

The more you let me see, the more I realize is unseen and mis-seen.

Hear me, I see your hurt.

I see it hurts me too.

I finally breath and I step back.

So I say I see your humility so strong, yet where is mine?

I’m not the only one with eyes.

Others see it too.

And before I even saw,

I was the one not seeing, mis-seeing, mistreating.

I was the one using my words to break.

Who saw that?

Even now, I don’t see it all with my eyes. And with my mouth I can pierce and not praise.

Who sees this?

I finally breath again and

I see grace.

Thank God.

I see grace for me.

for your side and theirs.

for your side and hers.

I see grace.

I see Jesus.

Gilded, no.

Just the opposite.


“Let us fix our eyes on things above.”

Rachel Deese

My Other Eyes

I wake up. My eyes open but my vision isn’t quite clear yet. I’m on my way. Ah, there it is. I can see. Not my favorite sight, but I see it — rage. Horn honking and swearing but my sight is fixed on the slight tinge of exhaustion in his eyes. Could it be his family or work or…

Now I see her. She tells me stories of her dad and her watch and how she’s tough, but I see it. The desperation to be held and taken care of. I wish I could but…

Oh this room. So much to see. Sometimes I wish I didn’t see so much. The joy, the hidden tear, the melancholy, the longing, the…

“Hey Darlin’! How are you today?,” Jay asks as he puts our mail in slot 270. Oh no, I’m blind. “Good!”. I’ll look into it later.

But I know a few who share this sight. And they see me and they know…

I’m no longer blind.  

Kelly Saunders


whatever i see –

i see stars when i get tired

and i see deadlines to the wire

i see terrifying haircuts

and my car that just expired


i see family with choice to be here

and i see a table i should have set

i see my share of conversations

before we’d even toasted yet


whatever i see i know belongs to heaven

whenever i dream its all i’ll ever know

whatever i see is overcome by darkness when my eyes close


whatever i see is all i know to ask for

whatever i sing is all my voice can hold

whatever i see i’ll take into my day until tomorrow


i see drums with busted faces

but i hear the crack that snare rang out

i hear songs i’ve never played for you cause your what that songs about


i see Christmas lights too early

and the way we give too late

i see the reason we show love to each other with iPhones and discount rates


whatever i see i know belongs to heaven

whenever i dream its all i’ll ever know

whatever i see is overcome by darkness when my eyes close


whatever i see is all i know to ask for

whatever i sing is all my voice can hold

whatever i see i’ll take into my day until tomorrow

whatever i see i’ll take into my day until tomorrow

alex mowry


I see the sadness in the world

One man has been accused of sexual misconduct by

three brave women

But was nominated by a man that’s been accused of sexual misconduct

by twenty women

He now sits on the highest court of the United States because he persuaded

eleven men that he should


One man has killed

eleven innocent people

But all of his weapons were purchased legally

four guns

He was the gunman that brought the total number of mass shootings this year to




I see hope in the people

One mom will march with her students

One friend will challenge the world with her questions

One classmate will give a moving speech

One professor will stand up for their student

One roommate will invest in children with her whole heart

One book will slap people into a reality

One athlete will kneel for something that is bigger than their career

One women will stand and speak for all the women that haven’t

One politician will confront our democracy

One country will hopefully see that hate has no home here

Lindsay Magill 


What Do I See?

I see things I love, and I see and dwell on things I shouldn’t. I see things right in front of me and I see things I hope will happen any number of years down the road. I see things in myself and I see things in others. I see my proudest moments, and I see my most uncomfortable failures.

I see a lot.

It’s overwhelming to even begin writing about what I see. With so many ideas, places I could start, and directions I could go, I decided that all I want to do is talk about a few things I see more consistently than anything else. Some of them are great things about other people, some are dreams I have, some are simple everyday observances, some are frustrations, some are things that bring me joy, and I realize the increasing importance of all of them the more I see.

So here it goes:


I see myself going on long runs (without a leash, of course) and to the park with the dog I’m going to own one day. Golden Retriever – get him when he’s young and raise him until he tries to jump into my lap because he still thinks he’s a puppy, but he’s old now and way too big for that.

I see myself hanging out with my little brothers, because we’ve had some awesome phone calls recently and because being their best friend is way more important to me than making sure that going to dinner with them and sitting down for a meaningful conversation isn’t awkward.

I see my friends getting older and making important decisions. That’s really awesome. I see their uncertainty turn into faith and then into something they never thought was possible but needed desperately.

I see my brokenness when I realize that my most natural desire is for everything to be about me. I recognize it, I work on it, and I feel it again. I see that I need a lot of forgiveness.

I see seven books I love. I’m going to read them again.

I see a room full of guys with whom I’ve spent the last four years. I know some of them a lot better than I know others, and I’m going to miss all of them.

I see the busiest semester of them all coming to a close. I see my availability, and it excites me.

I see a long three fall through the bottom of the net while I’m playing hoops at home, and I see Ben’s hand reaching toward my own.

I see the picture that Will posted in our kitchen the day we moved in. I thought a couple of Italian chefs in big white hats would encourage me to cook more, and boy was I wrong.

I see about a foot between my fingers and my toes. I need to stretch more.

I see that little sliver of light before I open the door and stumble into the living room – eyes half open, trying to figure out what mom’s watching before I walk into the kitchen and fire up the Keurig.

I see pictures of some of my favorite people in the world during some of my favorite memories in the world on my desk. I see myself remembering those moments forever.

I see that the people I love the most are those I’ve seen at the worst. I’m seeing that I want that more, because knowing that someone cares for me despite my shortcomings is just better than anything else.

William Black


I see my life
in the distance.
I’m trying to catch up.
I’m running. running. running.
breathe, Maddie. you’re almost there.
watch out!!!
i fell.
I see the hole in the ground. it’s too late.
I’m bleeding.
quick, don’t let anyone notice.
I see my failure.
I’m running again.
now it’s raining, pouring actually.
I see puddles, my feet are slipping as I keep my balance.
I feel heavy.
everything is blurry.
fog. dark clouds. more fog.
my eyes sting.
I can’t see.
I close them.
I fall again.
I see my inadequacy.
I fall asleep.
It’s the morning.
The sun begins to shine.
I see it’s warmth. I see hope. I’m not alone.
I look up.
I see my roommates next to me, tears in their eyes as they see my own.
I see jesus as I look at them. steadfast, gracious, loving, patient, kind…..
I see that it’s okay to be broken.
“your presence is enough.
you are beautiful.
you are bold and courageous.
let Him sharpen you.”
don’t you see? jesus is right here.
and these people are here too.
I spot the sun again. it’s peaking through the trees. as it reflects off the dark corners of my room, I am reminded to see the light in the brokenness.
There is life there too.
and joy. deep joy.
I hear music.
I see feet.
happy feet. wild and free feet.
dancing feet.
feet of my best friends. friends that so fully know their creator.
nothing scares them anymore.
they are loved. they know that they are loved. I am loved too.
I see that love- and freedom- and laughter, in this dance.
I join them.
Let me stay here.
You can.
I see my life.
It’s been right in front of me all along.
I stand still. I see the light. I feel light.
breathe Maddie.
Maddie Howell


It all started with a Gwnedolyn Brook’s poem “To an Old Black Woman, Homeless and Indistinct”.  

She sees you not, she sees you very well”

I was taken back by this idea of how we choose what we see and what we don’t see. I was taken back by this raw poem that was written from the perspective of this woman that lived on a street corner where every day people saw her, but nobody really saw her. This poem broke me. And it helped me see how this is constantly happening.

I saw it.

I saw how the root issue to so many of the tensions, misunderstandings, and divisions amongst people came from us not fully seeing one another.

It sounds so simple. And in many ways it is. We need to help people see people. The truth is simple, but the work of bringing others, in to sight is not so simple. And the work of bringing our own self in to sight can often feel even more difficult. Because it takes humility. True sight brings us back to our humanness.

We are stubborn. We each wear our own tainted lenses that keep us from seeing from other’s perspectives. We each have our own blind spots. We each have work to do in order to see one another from their vantage point, not our own. That’s why poetry is so impactful— you read it not from our own perspective but from the narrators. I want to live life similarly to the act of reading poetry.


For a while now I’ve been sitting in a quiet anger. I’ve been so frustrated with how we don’t know what it really means to love our neighbors because we don’t know what it means to see our neighbors. I had no idea how angry I was until I tried writing out my first few drafts on this topic. The words that first spilled out of me were soaked in bitterness. They were ugly because they were words that focused more on pointing fingers. It was so much easier to see how others were not seeing and loving. However, I was heavily missing the plank in my own eye. I was also missing that anger won’t fix anything. No one wants to read words of judgment. And when I began writing, I realized how much I needed to step out of my mind. So, I stepped away for a little bit and I asked others to write. I asked others to think about the question— “what do you see?” and I was taken back by the gift of reading, listening, and seeing words from other people’s perspectives.

We forget who our neighbors are. We forget that our neighbor is not just the one we choose to be with. We forget that not only is our neighbor the one in red and black besides us as we make our way to Sanford Stadium on a Saturday, but our neighbor is also the one to our right that is selling water bottles and tickets. We forget that our neighbor is not only our good friend, but also the mail lady who shows up to our house day after day. I forget. I forget that each and every person I pass by and that I meet has a story and a life that deserves to be seen and heard. I forget that one of the few universal commonalities amongst all people is that we all have a neighbor. If you think about it… we are all one another’s neighbors.

My Young Life leader in high school taught me something I haven’t been able to forget that pertains to the word “see”. She told us that in life there will always be people in your rear view mirror. She said that there will be people behind us constantly that we just forget to look back to see. They are there— present and behind us— our eyes just have to look back to see them. My leader then challenged us, as juniors in high school, to find out who those people were that were in our rear view mirror. Then, she told us that once we found those people the next step was to love them— to really love them. To talk with them. To learn their name if we didn’t know their name. To learn about who they were and how they were. She challenged us to see what we so quickly forget to see. She shared how sometimes we get too busy to see. We get too busy or too caught up in ourselves. When we only focus inward we forget what exists outside of ourselves. Learning this affected me then, and it continues to affect me now.

The first step is always the hardest. We have to ask ourselves— what am I not seeing that is right in front of me or right behind me? And then we have to do the messy work of being honest with ourselves with that question.

The next step is a little easier if we allow ourselves to sit in a posture of humility. We choose to see. We choose to love. And how we do so may look different from one person to another. But, my bet is that if we all do this work of fighting to see one another more, love will begin to exist where division lives. And if we allow it to, love will win every time.

Let’s be people that help one another see people. Let’s be people that say hello to one another. Let’s learn one another’s names. Let’s be real neighbors again.

Bailey Frederking


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