Thursday, July 4, 2013

I See You

Actual dude not quite as shown
The moment had all the elements of a great story: the seemingly random chance meeting, the instant recognition across the generations, the immediate bond of friendship and understanding.

Except that it didn't happen like that. Not at all.

Instead, it became a moment of self-deprecating amusement, on behalf of yours truly. The young wanderer just gave me a polite nod and continued on his merry way.

While I was never a hippy (wrong decade), when I was younger, I did tend to dress and present as a bit of a freak.

And it's funny how you tend to still see yourself -- in your mind's eye -- as that younger version of you.

So when a young man wandered past me at the grocery store a few days ago, I saw a younger version of me. Obviously, he was not a hippy either (several wrong decades), but he had long wavy hair, a funky hat, and was dressed in a creative way that I immediately identified with. It brought a smile to my face as I nodded enthusiastically in his direction by way of greeting.

And the afore-mentioned polite nod was the only response I got.

And then I remembered an image of me from earlier that morning, looking back at me as I checked in the mirror before starting work. Yeah, that balding, grey-goateed, completely "uncool" 50-something guy wearing the grocery store shirt and a name tag.

I recognized the young man. But he didn't recognize me.

It reminded me of a conversation I had with my buddy Gord all those years ago, during high school. Yes, the same Gord with whom I once spent an entire night discussing whether or not Adam & Eve were left here by aliens as an experiment.

During that conversation, at one point Gord remarked that he knew I was a Christian from the moment he met me. "All you Christians have this kinda golden aura around you. So I knew you had to be one when I saw you." (File under: "things that make you go hmmm...")

In a (somewhat) weird way, Gord saw me.

Not unlike the movie Avatar, where to "see" someone was to recognize them below the surface of their outward appearance.

To see something of their unique identity. To discern something significant about what drives a person to be as they are.

So the young man in the grocery store didn't see me. And in some metaphysically-odd way, Gord did see me; or at least, somehow he discerned that I was a follower of Jesus. And this, of course, makes me wonder:

When people "see" me -- I mean, really see me -- do they see Jesus?
"I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:10-14)

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