In God’s Image

In her book “Traveling Mercies” Anne Lamott recounts the story of a man lost in the Alaskan wilderness.  The story goes…

A drunk in a bar in Alaska is telling the bartender how he recently lost whatever faith he’d had after his twin-engine plane crashed in the tundra. “Yeah,” he says bitterly, “I lay there in the wreckage, hour after hour, nearly frozen to death, crying out for God to save me, praying for help with every ounce of my being, but he didn’t raise a finger to help. So I’m done with the whole charade.” “But,” said the puzzled bartender, squinting an eye at him, “you’re here. You were saved.”   “Yeah, that’s right,” says the man. “Because finally, some goddamn Eskimo came along…”

Wow.  How often do I miss seeing God in my midst?  How many times have I encountered setbacks in life or disappointments, tragedies, heartaches only to find a “blessing in disguise”?  So why is it so difficult for me to see ”God in disguise”?  Aren’t we all made in  God’s image?

Holy people (I’m not included in this group) are kind of easy to identify.  They’re the ones that pray at a drop of a hat; that always remember to thank God for everything – even the shitty stuff (supposedly it makes us thankful for everything else); they go to church ALWAYS; they are a kind to even the least lovable (I may be in that group); they are unflinching in their BELIEF.  So I get it: Holy people are made in God’s image.

But if we’re all made in God’s image then what about me?  What about my limited ability to love?  What about the times I’m not so sure that God even exists?  Or if He or She does exist, isn’t relevant in my life?  The idea that I’m made in God’s image is a really disturbing idea – God should be way cooler than me; more loving; more calm; more wise; more everything!

Have I ever been the ‘Eskimo’ to others?  That concept is easier to imagine in my imperfect humanness.  I suppose the answer is yes.  I’ve helped others without expecting anything in return (although a simple ‘thank you’ would have been nice!).  And I’ve loved some pretty unlovable creatures – I raised three teenagers! 

But mostly I have seen God in others – the friend that listened to my heartache and didn’t judge me; the co-worker that prayed with me when my son was deployed to Iraq; the spouse that loves me enough to let me be the person that I have always wanted to be; the child that accepts the fact that “I did my best” in raising him.

So maybe we all need to stop looking for God in the clouds.  Stop searching for God in books and laws.  Look at the person next to you.  Look in the mirror.  Seek and you will find. 

God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them. ~ Genesis 1:27

It’s comforting to know that God has given us a reflection of Himself in everyone we encounter in our life – sometimes it just takes a second look.  I’m hoping that you will see God today.



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