In the blink of an eye, I see it. I mean, I see her. Lying there in the nursing home bed, a slip of a woman, a mere shadow of what once was … sadly alone. And I take notice. Is this why I’ve come here today?
A wellspring within me stirs and the words of my mouth are deep waters as I hear myself say, “Friend, you are not alone, you are not forgotten, you are not invisible … I see you.”
And she weeps.
Sawubona. An ancient greeting that means “I see you” in the Zulu community in South Africa.
Sawubona. All my attention is on you. I see you, you are important to me and I value you. I see your hopes, your dreams, your failures and your fears. You are right in front of my face. Face-to-Face.
I am present.
The ancient Prophet and Deliverer of Israel understood sawubona. “The Lord would speak with Moses face-to-face, as one speaks to a friend”, the Torah reveals. There is no Hebrew word for presence (as in the Presence of G-d), but only the word face. Yahweh, the great I AM, and Moses spoke to one another face-to-face.
I AM present.
Who do I know that doesn’t desire sawubona? To be seen; to be heard without judgment; fully known–the good, the bad and the ugly–and accepted. Yet, is sawubona even possible in today’s digital world where face-to-face is replaced by FaceBook and FaceTime?
I believe there is a God whose thoughts towards me—and you—are good. The music of His thoughts plays throughout the earth … in the gentle breeze, the bubbling brook, the chirping birds, the twinkling stars … “You are not alone, you are not forgotten, you are not invisible. I see you.“
You are right in front of my face, friend.
And with that, I enter into the sacred space of spiritual sawubona: Face-to-Face with the One who knows me best—and loves me anyway—free to join the conversation, as one speaks to a friend.
Love & Peace,
“No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, …”. John 15:15 KJV
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