Being Somebody

Every few weeks our small-town newspaper includes a full page written and edited by students from the local high school. Some are better than others but all are fascinating because of what they show about what our teens think is normal.
An article on the upcoming Prom quotes Brenna, an 11th grade girl saying, “Prom is a night where everyone can dress up and feel for one night like they are beautiful and they matter. It’s really cool because many people don’t get that feeling, especially in high school.” She’s right: Not many people feel they are beautiful and they matter. That’s part of the human plight. We each want to be “somebody” but often feel like a “nobody.”
Has the human heart changed over the millennia? My mind often goes back to the countless Stone Age handprints and outlines on the walls of caves in France and Spain. The handprint seems like a public pronouncement: “I am here, I am somebody, I matter.”
Whatever may be their theology, all peoples seem to have this sense that we are not who we were meant to be. We have to search for ourselves, to try to be somebody. Adam and Eve had a grand design, to supplant God by gaining their own wisdom and making their own decisions. The first moments after the munching of the forbidden fruit showed that something had gone terribly wrong. They looked at each other and thought not of the beauty of the other but of their own vulnerability. From that fateful moment we have have been trapped in self-consciousness and the sense of aloneness it brings. We have felt worthy of rejection, even while wanting to be beautiful and to matter.
Another student, Brittany, discusses the popularity of sparkles on clothing. We are told, “Everyone likes to stand out, shine and feel special, which is why sparkles, glitter, and gems have taken over.” That’s harmless enough. . .until someone takes the sparkles seriously. The prom gowns and the sparkly shoes, as Brenna notes, will only last for one night.
To be truly special, to be beautiful, to matter: these are not accomplishments but gifts from the love and grace of God. What we really need is not to find ourselves in our sparkles but to be found in our humility by those who will look beneath the surface and see within us the beauty of the imago dei, the image of God.
If you look for it and affirm it in others, you will sparkle indeed.

Advertisements

About mthayes42

I am a retired pastor, interested in the Bible, cross-cultural ministries, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and the current and past history of western civilization.
This entry was posted in Modern Culture and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s