I arrived at the grounds before the boy. He and his friends were walking together from school and I stood on the far side of the grass breathing in the crisp air of autumn, soaking in its rich hues.
A gravel path lead them to the corner – boys in uniform of similar size and looks. With the sun and the distance I wasn’t sure I’d be confident when he emerged on this common pathway.
And then I saw him… smaller than my little finger in the distance and I knew it was him. Absolutely knew it, the kind of knowing that comes from 10 years of watching in the closest spaces to the furthest distance eyes can reach.
An eye trained from years of watching rather than looking.
The stride, gesture of arm, turn of body, incline of head – so deeply rooted in my knowing that I know them without realising I do.
In that moment I heard that whisper, so clear it could have been a shout, this is the knowing I mean when I talk about the hairs of your head.
This is the knowing that says, before a word is on your tongue I know it completely.
Not a knowing of facts for shows of intelligence or power. A knowing that comes from watching a person you love so much that you drink them in, all of them. A knowing that goes beyond a general description to a knowledge of a person you carry in your bones, in your ears, eyes, taste, nose, touch.
Knowing that begins to demonstrate a measure of how much you love a person.
Not knowledge to prove your love, like favourite flowers or songs. Knowledge that is simply there because you couldn’t not have it. Because you have noticed, you have loved, you have seen – closer than skin and across the assembly hall into a squinted distance.
Let us be reminded today that we are known.
Truly known – not as a show of omnipotence or omniscience but knowledge that comes from being so dearly loved that we are instantly and totally recognised – every part known, every part loved, precious up close and far away.
As Paul put it, ‘dearly loved.’
I watched this boy across the field as he grew large, he unaware of my presence, my joyful, heart-swell at the all familiar shape of him. I recognised him, loved him and delighted in the thought of him looking up and seeing me watching him. I held my breath for that moment when our eyes saw each other and he knew I was there.
I would be there before he realised it, and I would continue to watch after he turned to play again.
I would be knowing him whether he was aware of it or not.
Do you remember dear heart that you are known? Not a flashy impressive I can tell you facts and surprise you knowing, a knowing that comes from Someone who has watched, noticed, seen you… always.