"What can be more a man’s own than this new name which even in eternity remains a secret between God and him? And what shall we take this secrecy to mean? Surely, that each of the redeemed shall forever know and praise some one aspect of the divine beauty better than any other creature can. Why else were individuals created, but that God, loving all infinitely, should love each differently?" -C.S. Lewis
During a recent vacation to Colorado, I fulfilled a lifelong dream… crossed one of those things off my shrinking bucket list. On the day that Young Life’s Trailwest Ranch was waiting to receive hundreds of visitors from dozens of families, they invited me to speak to their army of volunteers and staff.
I spent some time in a coffee shop in Buena Vista trying to capture my thoughts and ideas. Typically, my heart lands on reminding people, like C.S. does above, that they have something profound and amazing about them that uniquely reflects the Creator in a way that no one else can.
Understanding that has changed the way I view every other person:
- It is the perspective I have fought to keep with the people I have led.
- It is the treasure I mine for in even chance encounter with strangers.
- It is the deepest and truest understanding I have about each of my children.
Living into this idea even changed the way I tuck each of them in to bed.
We talk about the things they shouldn’t have done.
Talk about the unique way they reflect the glory of the divine.
Remind them that what they’ve done isn’t who they are.
There is so much I now understand in raising our second three of six, that I wished I had known with the first batch. They weren’t tucked in this way. They were mostly told that they were loved, but that they did bad and needed to do better.
I wish I could have focused more on the joy Emily found in playing
in the mud than the mess that it made and the nightgown it ruined.
But I’m making up for lost time.
One of the most redemptive parts of getting to speak to Trailwest on this occasion was that five of my children, a son-in-law, and my precious wife were sitting in the crowd. When I introduced them before the talk I gave, I told everyone what is truest about all of them. I told everyone how I knew that each of them uniquely carried the glory of their Creator. I told them how each of them changed my life by how I encounter the divine in them.
As I scratch out these thoughts and ideas in a coffee shop, I am surrounded by a dozen or so folks, I wonder which unique and glorious aspect of the Divine they each possess. I wonder if they know what it is.
I wonder if someone regularly reminds them.
I wonder if they see it as the truest thing about them when they look in a mirror.
- How do you uniquely bear the image of the Divine?
- Do you know the same about those you love and lead?
- How much would your perception of them change if you knew?
- How much would their lives change if you told them?