Today at church when the collection baskets were being passed, the guy sitting in the same pew as me skipped me with the collection basket. He just passed it to the people in the pew behind us as if I wasn’t there at all. It is during times like these when I am most aware of my invisibility. The thing is who in the world but me is invisible even in church? You would think that at least in the presence of God other people would be able to see me. Apparently not!
This is not the first time, by any means, that the exact same thing has happened to me. Three times out of four the collection basket skips me. It doesn’t matter where in church I sit or who I sit next to. Apparently, only one out of every four people I sit next to can actually see me. I figure that if only one out of four in church can see me, that makes the average about one in ten outside of church that can see me.
I’m trying to look at the positive side of things. Surely God can see me, even if his worshipers can’t. Maybe God was looking out for me. It seems like I’m always broke. Maybe he was letting me know that since I’ve been so short of cash lately he doesn’t want his cut every week. Maybe he just wants what I can give once a month, instead of every week!
They say that every situation has a silver lining. I’m trying to find the silver lining in my invisibility. It is a hard thing to do! If the world has no use for you I suppose you have to find a use for yourself. I mean no one, not even me, can be totally invisible. The thing about being invisible is that you are not invisible to yourself! Even if no one else in the world can see you, you still see you.
Some of the silver lining is that there is great strength and power in invisibility. As an invisible person I have the ability to do good without awkward thanks or even awkward knowledge. Other people are none the wiser and I can do and go unseen, un-accosted, and unknown.
For instance, working in a hospital I have had occasion to comfort people who have lost loved ones. I can swoop in and hold people while they cry, while they mourn, and then when the rest of their family gets there, I can disappear. They never remember me in their grief, but for one small instant they needed me and I had the power to help them in a small way.
The other day I wrote a kid into the ER that had inserted two BB’s into his ear and couldn’t get them out. I told the Nurse Practitioner that I thought she could get them out with a magnet. The two RN’s that were up at the desk with us started looking for our tool kit, but couldn’t find a magnet. I asked one of the RN’s if I should go to the gift shop and see if they had a magnet on a piece of jewelry that would work, like the clasp of a necklace. The RN didn’t say anything at that time. After the NP tried to take the BB’s out manually and couldn’t do it, the RN went to the gift shop and borrowed a necklace with a magnetic clasp. It worked like a charm. Afterward, I sat up at the desk and listened to the three of them congratulate each other on how smart they all were.
Not one of them remembered my having been a part of any of it at all. I have a rare talent. I can disappear, simultaneously, from the consciousness of three people! I guess I’m not mute though, even though I am invisible. If they were completely deaf to me, that little boy would still be walking around with BB’s in his ear.
All of these experiences have given me an idea. If I can’t be seen in real life, maybe I can be seen on paper or online. Maybe in a world of words I won’t be invisible. I like people (most of the time anyway!) even if they don’t like me. It is difficult after all to think important a person you cannot even see except occasionally out of the corner of your eye! Most of all, I want other invisible people to know that they are not alone. I think if we put all of the invisible people in the world in one room together that we would have no problem seeing each other at all!