Noticing the 'nobodies'
Noticing the 'nobodies'
1 August 2022
As a young teenager, most people would have described me as having a solid build, but I just thought I was fat. Add to this a lack of motivation to study and achieve at school, and you end up with fragile self-esteem. I thought I was a bit of a ‘loser’, especially compared to my brother and most other kids.
I played Aussie Rules footy and was not fabulous at it. I ended up playing in the back pocket – an innocuous sort of position – but I loved it and played my role in the defensive backline enthusiastically. I’ve never forgotten overhearing one of the senior staff members at my school commenting to my footy coach, “Crikey, Davo is a tough little kid, isn’t he? I love the way he goes in hard for the ball.” I was noticed and affirmed, and it felt fabulous. I went on to play for Collingwood – just kidding – but it was a memorable moment and helped me believe in myself a bit more.
Loving people is sometimes as simple as noticing them and making observations about what you see. Talent scouts roam the sporting world just to discover unrealised potential. Shows like The Voice and Australia’s Got Talent are about finding people who have never been noticed and giving them a chance to shine. For me, the most obvious example is singer Susan Boyle who entered Britain’s Got Talent and went on to have an amazing career.
In Mark chapter 1, verses 16-17, we read of Jesus watching two brothers fishing. He noticed them. He saw them. I’m not sure Simon and Andrew were particularly muscular or unique – just regular fishermen who, for some reason, Jesus saw and invited into his life.
Many of us hesitate to talk to strangers or be friendly to someone in a way that might create opportunities to include them in our lives or group. We often fear our friendliness may be taken the wrong way, or we might say something inappropriate, or that they will be too demanding or difficult.
American Rapper Kid Cudi has a lyric in one of his songs: “We sometimes think we want to disappear, but all we really want is to be found.”
To love like Jesus is to notice people and to have the courage to say “G’day”. Not everyone is extroverted, but we can all take an interest in people and find ways to make a connection and encourage them to be their best selves.
In my conversations with people experiencing homelessness, they often say they feel invisible. And being invisible feels like being a nobody or someone of no significance. Jesus noticed Andrew the fisherman. Interestingly, it was Andrew who noticed the small boy with the five small loaves and two fish that Jesus used to feed 5000 (John chapter 6, verses 1-14).
If you love as Jesus loved, you will notice people and see the possibilities.