Walking, exhausted and walking, I thought about a storm I must’ve missed.
Fragments on the pavement, objects fallen and scattered.
I’d been away for three days.
Fern fronds, one facing upward the other folded, wilted. Similar, of the same family
I’d just gotten home from two days with family, the aunt like my mama, cousins, siblings, nephews, nieces.
Shown off on social media, the celebration.
It happened again.
Someone said “she’s your mini me”, referring to my granddaughter, Elizabeth.
And it prompted me to think again
I have two children, a daughter and a son.
One is fair, blonde hair, blue eyes and porcelain complexion prone to freckles.
The other, dark almost coal hair, brown eyes and a more easily bronzed complexion.
Still, I’ve heard through the years.
Oh, he/she looks so much like you!
Of course, I love the assessment.
Last week, I smiled as I saw the light in the eyes of an adopted child on her birthday.
This child, brown in complexion, parented by blondes I was fortunate to meet and be a part of their story.
I saw her mama’s smile. I recognized her father’s confidence in her shoulders.
Not genetic, not inherited.
I see my granddaughter and I see the glimmer of her grandmother, “Gamma” in her eyes. I see her daddy’s expression in her confident answers. I see her cousins’ smile in hers.
I see her mama in the freckles sprinkled across her nose and in her stubborn tenacity.
I see my heart when I see hers and I also see the heart of others.
And that’s what I’ve decided about resemblance…
It’s the heart that shows and the heart that knows.
One child can be seen as the echo of so many all at the same time.
Cousins, aunts, uncles, brothers, caregivers and protectors.
All of us, imparting resemblance.
It’s not the curve of the cheek, the tip of the nose, the color of the eyes or the way the lips turn above the chin.
Instead, it’s the imprint of love.
Less severe the likeness, more sweetness and nuance.
Love is the reason for the resemblance.
And resemblance is the evidence of that love.
Wildflowers, oak leaves and children.
The remnants of rhododendron.
All the same and on their own on display.
When others say my granddaughter is so much like me in her sweet little face
I know the resemblance is so far from physical and every bit
The heart of me in her alongside the heart of others who love her.
A high compliment, I was once given and until now have kept secret,
“Your Bible could be in a museum one day.” D.W.
I paused in awe of his assertion, this skilled photographer who discovered me through the sketches I share from the margins of my Bible was quite convinced of this possibility.
I can only hope that if my Bible is found by someone when I’m long gone, that the gift of it finds them in the same lasting way.
That their response to God’s word catches them by surprise, that their reaction is a quiet and lasting one, a reaction that resembles mine.
On page 576 of my Crossway Journaling Bible they will find a sketch of a figure facing forward, she’s not small and her shoulders are bent in either thought or simply aged posture. Her hands are cupped in front of her and cascading behind her is a flow like a river that curves and grows larger.
She is pouring out all that’s within her, joy.
“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”
Isaiah 12:3 ESV
She is giving to others what she has gone searching for, drawn up from deep wells.
I pray I resemble her.
That I focus less on the outer aging, conflicted and overly burdened by activity me and that I consider the gifting inside me, not my gifts, talents, words or physical abilities.
Instead, I hope my life is a resemblance of joy.
Babies are born and bystanders ooh and ah as they decide who the nose, the eyes, the hands are from like a fun little challenging trivia game.
What matters less is who they resemble and more the ones God puts around them to contribute to the best of our ability what joys and gifts and graces deep within us that we embody and get to give them.
When someone says “ELB” looks like me, I smile because I know in that moment caught in a photo it’s not at all that we resemble.
Rather, it’s that the person who caught the moment on film also captured my joy and it was joy, not looks that were mirrored in a toddlers face.
Who resembles you?
Who do you resemble?
Years from now, a grandchild may flip through the thin pages of my Bible and I hope they find a drawing in the margin and say sort of quietly to themselves.
That’s me. That looks like me in that same story.
And rest in their hearts in this,
“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation.”
Isaiah 12:2 NIV
Who resembles you?