I am in my usual place. I close the door. My room feels secure.
I start to read. My mind hears the sound of my own voice. I am the narrator: “Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them . . .” Of course these are not my words, but I hear them in my own voice. I’ve been here before. The words continue, “. . . so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
Because I’ve come to this place often. These words are as familiar as my morning coffee, yet each morning I can savor the smell and taste anew. I make a note in the margin of the book. “He sees in secret. He rewards.” I consider the fact he also sees the murder and adultery in my heart. Am I comfortable that he sees me in secret? There is danger and reward in what he sees. Other people see only the surface. They reward, too, with smiles and words of praise.
“Go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” The voice in my head sounds less like me--it begins to blend with another voice: one sure and steady. He’s telling me about my Father. He knows my Father very well, far better than me because I was separated from my Father at birth. But now I’m grown. I am trying to connect again. Your Father, he says, sees and rewards. Other people may see and reward, but it’s out in the open, where we can pretend to be anything we want. We can even pretend we have forgiven. Others might reward, but they do not see in secret.
I finish his words about my righteousness: he tells me to comb my hair, wash my face and fool my neighbors, “and your Father, who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” The voice in my head is now completely his, offering assurance and revelation:
He sees me, even in the secret place, and he longs to reward. I consider for a moment: could I trust anyone to see all of me, even in secret? Can I trust him? He says yes, and this is what I will take with me when I open the door and begin my day: “If I trust him to see me in secret, I will not need to be seen by men.”