Advent devotion: (Not) invisible

News | December 20, 2015

I peered anxiously into the massive sanctuary and scanned the rapidly filling pews. Like a new college student choosing their seating assignment in class, I pondered the pros and cons of choosing one far, far in the back.

I wasn’t always this hesitant. I was THAT kid who went to Sunday school every week, served as an acolyte, sang in the church choir, taught Vacation Bible School, and loved, loved, loved traveling on youth group trips. But somewhere along the way, life just happened. And regular church attendance didn’t happen with it.

Fast forward through adulthood and 15 years of marriage when suddenly all that I knew in my world began disintegrating right before my very eyes. I was shaken. Scared. Broken.

Some friends gave hugs. Others let me call them at 2 a.m. when the insomnia set in. Still others brought chocolate and Chinese take-out to console me, even if I had trouble taking more than a few bites. One wise friend suggested re-visiting my faith.

So there I sat, hoping to remain as invisible as possible with nary a fellow parishioner in range and emergency Kleenex tucked away in my purse for any wayward tears. It’s as though I was embarrassed to have God, or anyone else for that matter, recognize me.

And then …

An acquaintance from area theater asked if the seat next to me was taken.

The choir director’s family, whom I knew from previous choral ensembles and high school theatrical productions, leaned in from behind to say hello.

A local TV news producer I had worked with turned to offer greetings from the pew ahead.

Feeling completely exposed, I looked further down the row… where my OB/GYN waved.

This was the exact opposite of being inconspicuous!

The next day, I got a call from yet another person who saw me. I confessed to him how vulnerable I felt and my desire to just be invisible. Then he stopped me in my tracks.

“Did you ever think that maybe God didn’t want you to be invisible?”

No. I hadn’t thought of that possibility.

I often ponder those words whenever I’m feeling small and lost. But because of how God managed to surround me that day with love – God’s love flowing through so many people – it always reminds me that we are never invisible.

Erin Platt works in the marketing and communications department at UnityPoint Health – Trinity. She and her husband Jason live in Davenport with seventh-grader, Wyeth.

One comment on “Advent devotion: (Not) invisible”

  • Sharon Ratliff-Crain

    December 24, 2015 at 8:42 am

    This resonated with me because my experience going back to church for the first time in many years was very similar. I tried to be invisible but wasn’t and was welcomed very warmly.
    Thank you for sharing! May we all mirror God’s love and help others to not feel invisible!

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