“She looks a lot like her dad’s sister, don’t you think?”
I looked at the picture and thought for a moment. I’d recently reconnected on social media with an old friend who hadn’t seen my daughter since she was a toddler, and she’d been browsing the multitude of pictures posted on my page.
Yes, my daughter did look a little like her aunt in that particular picture, taken about a year ago. But most of my friends and acquaintances think she looks like me. In fact, when some of my friends saw my senior portrait, they thought it was a photograph of my daughter.
When she was young, no one ever said our daughter resembled me. But that was when her father and I were still married and most of our friends knew both of us well. Now our circles of friends and acquaintances rarely come together, so people tend to see the one of us they know best in our daughter’s features.
It’s endlessly fascinating to me how I see glimpses of her father’s and my family members play across my daughter’s face or reveal themselves in her gestures. A few days ago she and I visited my mother, and during the drive my daughter told a story, her face animated and her hands punctuating her words as we sat nearly still in a construction back-up.
My hands on the wheel and the car at a standstill, I turned to look at her, and her eyes widened just the way my father’s did when he was telling a story. I know from comments that others have made that my eyes do the very same thing when I talk excitedly, but at that moment, I saw my father in her face.
Made in my image, made in her father’s image, our daughter is both of us and neither of us. She is sometimes me, sometimes her father, and most times uniquely individual. And as so often happens for me these days, as I’ve begun writing about the things that have contributed to my own worldview, I had a moment of insight into my faith.
Perhaps this is what it means that we are created in God’s image. In our limited understanding, we box in the words of our holy texts, and many have used that phrase to justify their literal reading of the scriptures. But how could all of us—in our colorful variety of skin tones and temperaments—be made in the image of a single God?
I smile. For it is in the eyes of almost every human being I meet that I see some reflection of the Spirit we all share. And just as my daughter is not a mirror image of me, we are not the spitting image of God. But isn’t it interesting to think that each of us has a little bit of our Father-Mother-Spirit in us, even in that brother or sister or uncle or cousin or in-law that we don’t like so much?
So perhaps today I’ll try a little harder to look for that tilt of the eyes, that curve of the lips, that gesture from God in every person I encounter.
What about you? Tell me a story of God with us and in us.