July 30th, 2009
I will never forget the amazing realization that the little person who just literally emerged from my wife’s belly was, in appearance, the combination of Laura and I. I know, I know . . . that’s an obvious observation to everyone else. Of course Sadie would look like us. However, I think that nothing but the moment of viewing your own child can prepare you for this kind of revelation.
This was probably true for several reasons. First of all, the debate had raged for months during the pregnancy about what she would look like. In some ways, pregnancy makes you “acutely” aware of how “uncutely” your child could possibly be. You begin to dwell upon your most negative adult physical characteristics and imagine them plastered on some tiny baby’s body in complete disproportion to her size . . . well, and in complete disproportion to realistic thinking as well. What if she ends up with my most loathed physical attribute and Laura’s as well? In our minds, the possibilities of having a “homely” little darling were very real. If nothing else, my chicken legs and huge cheeks created the potential for some pretty amusing baby pictures.
Of course, since I can find no physical flaws in my wife’s appearance, her paranoia was completely ungrounded . . . go ahead and inscribe my name on the husband of the year trophy.
Furthermore, you should know that I do jest a bit and that Sadie’s health was our foremost concern. If she came out healthy, her appearance was of no consequence to us. I am exaggerating our newborn vanity a bit for the sake of the story . . . now back to the madness already in session.
So imagine the pleasant surprise I experienced when Sadie came out . . . well, absolutely gorgeous. She was well-apportioned . . . well, except for her feet. She had my cheeks of increased blessing (semantics), yet they were nothing less than the cutest features we had ever seen. The exploration thus began with a complete examination of her little toes, knees, belly, fingers, etc. Every millimeter of our little princess was suddenly front page material and we were like 1920′s newsboys clamoring for a sidewalk sale.
In the midst of our Sadie expedition, I discovered a most curious trait. On the backs of her ears, there were little pointy bumps. They weren’t noticeable unless you rubbed behind her ears and knew where to look. I knew where to look because I have these strange little bumps behind my ears as well . . . I always have. They seemingly serve no purpose; in other words, I haven’t discovered any superpowers or anything.
I can remember being a little boy and exploring my Dad’s face only to find the same little bumps behind his ears. Go figure! It would appear that these strange little ear features are traits of the Driver family. That’s right! Some fathers pass intelligence on to their children. Others pass down unspeakable talent. Me? I passed down ear bumps.
But one thing is certain: Sadie looks like her Mommy and Daddy . . . for better or for worse. To possess traits of one’s parents is one of the great mysteries of family. It’s the daily, tangible reminder of the unbreakable biological bond that combines members of a household. Families can argue, move away, and even become estranged . . . but at the end of the day, their physical similarities leave no doubt of their relation . . . and therefore, their connection.
Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that humanity is the offspring of God (Acts 17:29). In the beginning . . . on that great birthday of humanity, the first man and woman were both made “in His image.” “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1: 27 (NLT)
To be quite honest, I think that the world at large has become so estranged from the family of God that most of us don’t consider the people we share the interstates and internet with to be relatives of the most holy Father. They seem to share so few attributes and attitudes with the Divine family. And at the end of the day, if they choose to remain disconnected from the family they were intended to live in, they do have the choice to decide their own fate . . . just as we do.
But we can’t even begin to show God’s love if we don’t acknowledge that there is something worth loving. The most striking characteristic of Jesus’ time on earth was that He seemed truly fond of the very people society most loathed. Now, mind you people sure looked and acted a lot differently once they had encountered Jesus. Yet Jesus’ love wasn’t contingent on . . .well, anything. It was . . . and is . . . unconditional.
This isn’t a message on tolerance. Jesus was the first one to call people everywhere to repentance and change, but He loved them first. It’s so easy to love only after someone changes instead of seeing their value in the very midst of their issues.
It’s time for us to run our spiritual fingers over the faces and ears of those who seem unlovable. We may be shocked to find that the little bump of God’s image is hidden there somewhere . . . just like it is so often hidden in us, as well. We can’t make the choices for those around us, but we are commanded not to just speak truth, but rather to speak the “truth in love.” (Ephesians 4:15)
Without realizing that hidden somewhere in every member of humanity is the image of God . . . the bumps behind God’s ears . . . it is easy to miss the value of the person, and thus miss the reason to love them.
I didn’t need any more reasons to love my little angel, but those curious little bumps did remind me of one thing: she’s definitely mine! May we find the same realization as we reflect the attributes of our heavenly Father and show His love to world who’s forgotten the bumps behind their ears. I pray that they find them.