Watchful Eyes

I submitted this on Wayside’s blog and thought it worth reposting here.

Not a one of us lives in a vacuum. We’re active creatures, speaking, writing, revealing aspects of our thought life to others. And those others are watching.

Earlier this month, Jim Rubart wrote a post entitled, “You’re Being Watched,” which appeared on Novel Rocket.

James L. Rubart is the bestselling author of Rooms, Book of Days, and The Chair. This story caught my attention: (

“…we market ourselves not only during the moments we’re in front of that dream agent, or dream publisher, we market ourselves when we don’t think they’re noticing us.

“But they do notice us. We’re on their radar. Yes, they’re watching us.

“A few years ago a friend of mine had released her agent and was looking for a new one. We were in a critique group together and she told those of us in the group about the agent at the top of her wish list.

“When she finally called him she started the conversation by saying, ‘I’m not sure if you know who I am but—’

“He responded, ‘I know exactly who you are. I’ve been watching you for three years. You come to conferences with passion to learn and ask great questions. I’ve skimmed your books and I enjoy your writing style. I can see you care about other people and from what others tell me, you are committed to making a difference with your writing. Yes, I’d love to talk about representing you.'”

In my many years of living, I’ve had folk come out of nowhere to say, “I’ve been watching you, and….” Usually, the “and” is a prelude to a thank you or to a new relationship. I’ll be honest. I don’t often consider those “other eyes” as I act or react, which means that sometimes I’m not the best representative of me. I’m human, and I often long for do-overs, for opportunities to go back and apologize, to reach a helping hand to someone, or just to be a better listener.

But on those occasions when the, “I’ve been watching you,” lands as a compliment to my inadvertent living, my first thought has been, “O, Lord, thank You that I didn’t miss You that time.” Because I might have. Each of us, in our humanity, may fail to be the best representative of the us we’d like to portray. But we can try, can’t we? We can do our best to listen and to obey, to think of the other first, to respond in grace even when our feelings stagger from rejection or hurt, even when we’re too busy, really, to take a moment to consider another’s needs.

I hope in these later years that grace abounds still more in me. Wouldn’t it be lovely if those watching would want to know us better and so to know the One we serve?

2 Replies to “Watchful Eyes”

  1. Wonderful post, Normandie. I read a great post awhile back (sorry, can’t remember whose) that said, ‘You will be hard to live with sometimes. You will fall short. You will forget to stand tall. And God, uncaring of what’s cool, will say, “That one’s mine!” anyway.’ Which reminds me of my old Sunday School teacher told us we were the only Bible some folks would ever read, so we’d best think about what message we were sending to the world. How refreshing to know God’s grace covers all our blunders!

    1. So true, Brenda. I didn’t have the benefit of many Sunday School teachers — a few, yes, but my family usually eschewed faith in God for faith in the intellect — and so I watched those around me who professed belief. Because of their example, I scurried away from God.

      I’ve tried to remember that lesson through the years of knowing Him. We won’t ever be perfect, but we must at least try, and, in the trying and in the failing, be willing to admit our imperfections, so that the watchers can tell the difference between us and God. I ache for those who blame a Perfect God when the fault lies in us. But, as you say, we’ve a God of grace Who makes all the difference.

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