Life’s unique imprint: Reflections from a retreat

By October 17, 2007 faith No Comments

What fascinates you? What do you observe in the world around you that makes you stand back in wonder and then dive in to grasp its depth?

For me it is people. When I take the time to step back and see people as individuals, truly look at all that comprises each one, it is rather mind boggling. How amazing that each of us has a unique history, with days and months and years that collectively comprise the person we are today. Whatever history we may share with another, however, doesn’t guarantee matching perspectives—we see this when people are asked to give their account of an accident or crime.

[This summer a friend and I were driving back with our tasty DQ treats when a car heading our way had trouble navigating the curvy road ahead of us. It entered our lane, quickly swerved back, jumping the curb on its side and crashing into a concrete light post. We stayed until the police arrived and found that we were much like the blind men in disagreement as they described the elephant before them. I didn’t think the driver applied his brakes (I don’t remember it slowing at all—until the post stopped it); I heard screaching but I thought that was due to the tight jerking of the wheel to return the vehicle to its own lane. My friend, however, heard screaching and assumed it was due to the brakes being applied. We left the scene feeling sorry for the officer who had to piece together the account from two women who had different perspectives of the accident. My guess is that he took my friend’s account, as nerves caused me to give an incorrect birthday when the officer was collecting our personal information. I’ve never done well under pressure. This gave us quite a good laugh as I lamented at what a dork I am!]

This jumble of history and perspective and emotional response and personal interests is enough to stand back in awe. Our lives have an imprint as unique to us as our fingerprints.

This weekend I had the blessing and pleasure of helping to lead a women’s retreat for Pine Village Christian Church. (Hello, PVCC gals!) One of my favorite times at events such as this is to hear women share the details of their lives—the joy, the heartache, the triumphs, the difficulties. I love to hear how God has intervened in some places and how He has come near through the fires of life. These lives are distinct, exceptional, notable. They are precious.

And when you dig in deeper, into one person’s life, sometimes even the pieces themselves are so varied that they have seemingly been chosen at random. It’s like that story game where you write descriptions of people, places, and things on slips of paper, toss them in a bag, and draw out the next scenario to incorporate into the story you are creating. Who can know what life will hold? Only the God of All knows such things, and these are too great for me to fully comprehend.

But I can still stand back, fascinated by the outcome: the beauty of lives so distinct, so surprisingly different, that we couldn’t have molded them this way if we had tried.

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