Jesus answered and said to him, "Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree." – Jn. 1:48

There are times in life when I feel invisible. I put an incredible amount of work and energy into a project and I don’t hear a “thank you.” I gather up the courage to share my dreams, only to be let down and shot down like my humanity doesn’t even matter. I look for encouragement from someone I look up to and that person doesn’t give me the time of day.

“Vulnerability” was probably one of my least favorite words in the dictionary. When one becomes vulnerable in front of the other, there is a risk of getting hurt! What if the other person doesn’t respond the way I expect? What if I share my aspirations with someone I respect and look up to… only to find out that person simply thinks of me as one of the many followers on social media?

There are cases where people’s invisibility is obvious. Decent people everywhere (religious or not) know we have to do something about them: the homeless, the sick, the dying, the thirsty, the hungry.  However, I would say that there is another category: invisibility of the heart.

Sometimes I wonder how many times people passed over me without realizing that God has been working in my life for the past 26 years? I may not be “a somebody” but I have my humanity. I have my hopes, dreams, talents and potentials.

Then, I wonder, how many times in a day do I cross paths with people without realizing that God has been at work in their lives as well. How many times have I been so oblivious to God’s work in other people’s lives because I’m too busy living in my own head?

I realize that daily prayer, retreats and the sacraments are not painkillers for my heart. They neither numb the hurt nor the pain. Striving for a dynamic spiritual life doesn’t mean I’m immune to disappointments, sadness, anger, jealousy or hurt.

Instead, my walk with God and my life in community of faith-filled people free my heart and awaken it. I can testify first hand that an awakened heart feels deeply. However, it does not dwell on itself. An awakened heart is open to something greater… something everlasting.

St. John Neumann accomplished many good works in his diocese during his lifetime. As a young adult, I am inspired by his example. I aspire to do something meaningful with my life. However, before my life bears fruit that will last, I think God first wants me to understand that He chose me and I’m His beloved (John 15:16).

What will life be if I truly allow myself to be truly seen, known and loved?

What will life be like if I truly allow others to be truly seen, known and loved?

Gabriella Karina