To See or To Be – Which is it Today?

By on April 26, 2013

By Janelle Alberts –

I was chatting with a favorite preschool teacher the other day about her skill to inspire! Create! Enlighten! I gushed, “Your life must be amazing! Your home must be a treasure!” In response, she said the most amazing thing: “All this at work – it’s for show.”

I blinked. Then I thought to myself, No wonder I like you so much.

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I mean, I’m a mom. I’m lucky to shower every day. Any time someone lowers the benchmark down a notch from homemade organic alfalfa sprout bread, it makes me feel like I can sit taller in my carpool waiting line.

She turned the tables then and asked me how I sustain such reflectiveness and faith. I responded in kind: “I don’t.”

I white-knuckle my way through many situations and then I eventually talk myself off the ledge.

But surely we are all differing versions of ourselves, depending on what and how duty calls. Reasonable, right? Otherwise, we’d flat out never get a thing done.

I thought this when I read about Jesus asking the same question twice. “What do you want me to do for you?” He asked.

The first time Jesus posed the question to James and John, who asked to be seated at Jesus’ right and left in heaven. The second was to Bartimaeus, who was blind. He asked to see.

I asked myself which version of these people am I today? Am I seeking a position? Or am I asking to see? See God, see the world, see the truth – just see.

“What do you want me to do for you?”

I would like to believe. I would like to understand. And when I don’t, I would like to believe still.

I ran into that teacher’s teenage daughter some time later and while chatting about life in general she’d let this comment loose: “My mom is my hero.”

Huh. I need to tell that teacher – it’s a little bit not for show. She’s internalized and exuding her amazing skills in her own life maybe more than she even knows.

And in the spirit of generosity, I could say observation of me might reveal that same encouragement. But be suspicious, since I’m posting here and not on YouTube.


Janelle Alberts is a humorous freelance writer who integrates Bible stories into the minutiae of our personal, daily lives.  Her website:

About Janelle Alberts

Janelle Alberts spent her early career managing crisis communication needs for Microsoft, UPS and Wells Fargo. Alberts joined the Akron Beacon Journal online religion page in the summer of 2010. Alberts sets out in The Bible Book Club to observe the messaging strategy of one historical icon who is consistently quoted but inconsistently represented – God and His world’s best-selling book, the Bible. You can find Janelle at

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To See or To Be – Which is it Today?