Isn’t it sometimes odd and interesting what particular pictures our minds store in memory’s albums? I remember a quote that I read years ago that went something like this: “Memory is an arbitrary and capricious creature. You never know what pebble she may choose to pluck up from the beach and store in your mind.” With more time and ambition, I guess I could find who wrote that and more exactly how it was stated. But, at this moment, I’m more interested in getting to this specific memory than to Google.
I was riding in the back seat as Deb Harrison drove the Antioch Youth Fellowship into Murray on a bright summer evening. AYF at that time consisted of from five to ten Browns Grove area young adults and teenagers. The lack of a youth minister or program wasn’t an issue for us; we were our own program. If we wanted to get together for softball on a Sunday afternoon, we got together. If we wanted to go bowling on a Friday evening, we went bowling. If some of us wanted to go frog gigging, we’d find a flashlight or two, borrow an old pickup and head out through the fields after it was dark.
I can’t for the life of me remember what particular activity had us headed to Murray that day. There’s a good chance that Tom’s Pizza would be involved at some point. What I do remember is looking over Deb’s shoulder at the driver’s mirror at just the right moment to catch the sunlight coming through the window behind me at just the right angle.
What made me think it was just the right angle was that every little hair on the side of my fifteen-year-old face was lit up, glowing for all the world to see. Well, all the world who shared that particular perspective actually. That, of course, included no one else in the world, even the people riding with us.
That didn’t matter to me. Eager for older and jealous of my older brothers and every other kid who started shaving at thirteen, I could see in that instant that there was hair on my face. Not just one or two, not just a thin scattering of soft wisps of peach fuzz; it was definitely hair. Something that would turn into whiskers in the near future, that could some day become a beard.
There are times when the illumination of heaven reveals to us a wonderful potential, a promise of growth and maturing and fulfillment. In those instances when hope burns within us and we suddenly see the evidence of God’s touch upon us, we are changed. And if we hold on to that, devote ourselves to its fulfillment and refuse to allow others’ lack of sharing that vision to deter us, we empower ourselves to realize the power of God’s work within us.