I’m at Kamp’s on 10th Street. The laptop bar is the only place to plug in, so I’m sitting here facing the row of booths against the west wall, where a variety of people are having a variety of conversations. It’s like going to the zoo, watching these strangely animated creatures interacting in their caffeinated environments, and I wish there were small signposts listing their names and a few interesting factoids about each.
I wonder what they’re talking about. Most are speaking freely, but others are referencing notes, as if they’ve written down every word they wanted to say so as not to leave anything out. Some are dressed in business casual attire because they’re presenting something or perhaps interviewing for a job; some are in jeans and a sweatshirt and are just hanging out with a friend. Many are talking with their hands as much as their mouths; a few seem to be moving only from the neck up.
What ties this scene together? What’s the common thread? It’s the look I see in their eyes (or at least the look I imagine I see in their eyes). It’s different for everyone – perhaps because of eye color, or maybe because some make eye contact when they speak while others don’t – but it’s there alright – the same look you and I have when we see ourselves in the mirror every morning.
And that’s because no one does.
My eyes scan back over the menagerie – a white middle-aged woman in a business suit desperate to cut a deal with her male counterpart; an older man in his coat and tie trying to impress his younger, more casually-dressed supervisor; a black mom and her daughter awkwardly sitting in between the two groups, probably feeling what they always feel when in the minority (again).
And then I think about the fact that here I am in Kamp’s writing about them all, inserting my own current insecurities – loss of influence, fear of failure, awkward marginalization – and creating fictional dialogues in my head (hopefully in a way everyone reading about it on the City Pres blog will like).
But enough about me. Let’s talk about you. What do you think about me?
The miracle of the Incarnation illustrates God’s deep understanding of our need for validation. From Genesis to Revelation (see Genesis 17:7, Exodus 6:7, Leviticus 26:12, 1 Chronicles 17:22, Jeremiah 30:22, Ezekiel 36:28, 1 Peter 2:9-11, Revelation 21:3), God’s covenant plan has always been that we would be His people and He would be our God, validating our existence by His Presence and meeting our need by His relationship.
No spouse or child, no boss or board, no colleague or competitor can come close to fulfilling our desire to be listened to, taken seriously, understood, and loved; the older we get and the more loss we experience, the more true this fact becomes and feels. But God created us to be with Him, and since we chose to walk away, He came after us.
But enough about me, Jesus. Let’s talk about you. What do you think about me?
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” (John 15:9)
Stamped in His image and engraved on the palms of His hands.