Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Life In Pictures

Tonight at worship, one of our elders, Mark Hall, came up to me and said, "You were good looking when you were younger." I knew what he was referencing. Last night, I changed my FACEBOOK cover photo. I do this every week or so but usually it's of me on a mission trip to Vietnam or China or as a very small child in pictures I'm pretty sure were snapped by Grandpa Hawley. Last night's update, though, was the first time I have used a shot of me as a teen, primarily because I have only several in digital form. The new cover is the one at the top, from the York (Nebraska) High Sports' Banquet my senior year and my date is the lovely Miss Deb Schark. I'm not sure why but that old picture has elicited in excess of 115 likes so far and almost thirty comments, not including the one made to me personally tonight. My response to Mark?
"Was good looking?"
Mark's reply; "Well, I guess you're still good looking but not quite so young."
I guess I can live with that!

You know, I think most of the kids in my class would have no idea who that guy in the suit is. I made the point on Saturday in my FACEBOOK status that it was obvious I badly needed a haircut and contacts, both of which came within the next seven or so years. Several commenters made fun of my tie which is ironic as I now possess 250+ pieces of neck-ware. We also had some back and forth about my perceived resemblance to a smaller version of the Los Angeles Lakers' Kurt Rambis, who is probably only eight inches taller that I am. Several more remarked that the picture with Deb is how they remember me. Since my parents moved from Nebraska several years after this was taken, no one in my hometown has seen me except for extremely rare occasions so it's logical that is how their memories would be etched. The second picture, taken last summer in Can Tho, Vietnam, is how my current students know me when I'm not in teaching gear. The young lady is Truc Giang, a friend of Hai, the preacher in the church. We had just completed a class in conversational English and I handed out WCS t-shirts to the five or so pupils. She wanted a picture and I obliged. I would assume that Giang, like my American students, would not see the resemblance in the two shots, either.

Is there any bigger exaggeration than somebody telling a friend they haven't laid eyes on in decades that, "You haven't changed a bit!" I absolutely understand the attempt at kindness but come on; NO CHANGE? Wouldn't we think it was bizarre, or even frightening, if there really was no change? But the great thing about being in the Lord is that we are new....and improved! Paul tells us this in 2 Corinthians 5 and verse 17:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
In Romans 6 and verse 4, Paul wrote:
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Forget about being younger like the majority of ads on the Internet scream we can be- we can be newer and better! In our culture, we think younger is superior and it obviously has its advantages. But in a spiritual sense, new often comes with age and life follows death, a juxtaposition  from the scheme we see modeled all around us in nature. And so while part of me misses the times when athletic banquets were of the utmost importance- amazingly, I still go to them every year as a coach!- I don't live in that chapter of my life. Why would I? Through life in Christ, the newer chapters are so much better, and still being written!

Applicable quote of the day:
“When I look at my old pictures, all I can see is what I used to be but am no longer. I think: What I can see is what I am not.”
Aleksandar Hemon,
The Lazarus Project

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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