The church I’m attending is doing a summer series titled “Hidden Figures” – it’s about the small, not-well-known people in the Bible who have had major impacts on the people around them. I haven’t thought about most of these people – Micah of Moresheth, Ananias, the daughters of Zelophehad (and others) – but they’ve had lasting impact on the formation of my faith and that of my Church.
As I’ve been thinking about these hidden figures, I’ve been reflecting on those hidden figures in my own life – the people who have had a lasting impact on who I am (and who I’m becoming). People who, at the time, I didn’t know were molding and shaping me into the person I would become.
The teacher’s aides who tutored me when the teacher was too busy for me.
The lunch ladies who gave me free meals when I forgot my money.
The elderly couple who took my brother and I to eat at the fanciest restaurant we’d ever been to (they had live lobsters – a big deal for a 9 year old).
The twenty-something who took time to mentor me and take me to Elitch’s.
The old ladies who bought me lunch after church and check in on me.
These were all little things that people chose to do for me that stuck with me, showed me I was valued and loved, and taught me that I should do the same.
There’s this verse in Hebrews, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” (Heb. 13:2, NIV). I think it could be reworded: “Do not forget that strangers, in showing you hospitality, are angels and you didn’t even know it.” The truth is, most of these hidden figures in my life were angels for me. They gave me hope that I was smart enough and I could learn my multiplication tables. They showed me that I won’t ever go hungry if they’re around. They gave me something good and nice for no reason at all, other than because they loved me. They knew the importance of guidance, mentorship, and discipleship. They let me know that I was valued and visible to them.
I should acknowledge the people who do so many small things for me that I don’t fully recognize as being impactful in the moment. The janitors, housekeepers, and groundskeepers who maintain the facilities around me and keep me safe and healthy. The administrative assistants and secretaries and finance office people who do all the paperwork to keep things running. The nurses and assistants who do 99% of the actual work in doctor’s offices and hospitals. The people who send me cards in the mail just because they were thinking about me.
And I should also keep in mind that I may be someone’s hidden figure. I may not always know it, I may not always intentionally be doing something, but I will nevertheless have a lasting impact on most of the people I come across. I need to be mindful of my actions, my thoughts, and my words and be as loving as I can possibly be to all the people I meet.
May we all see the hidden figures who have made us who we are today. May we be thankful for those who have had positive impacts on us and forgiving of those who have had negative impacts on us. May we have eyes to be more aware of those around us who are hidden in our day-to-day lives and acknowledge their impact on us today.
much love. sheth.