What do you see?

Growing up on a farm in Michigan a boy named Earl really struggled in English class.  He didn’t read very well and always struggled aloud, but enjoyed poetry.  His English teacher saw an opportunity to help and pushed him to overcome both his speech impediment and the fear that it generated, transforming this struggling student into someone we all know well.

A few years back I had the privilege of watching a live-on-stage interview with James Earl Jones in Washington, DC.  At 80, Jones was moving slower but his mind was sharp as ever.  As the audience watched, he told stories from his life:  from growing up in Michigan and overcoming a stutter, meeting his biological father in New York City in his twenties and admitting that as he got to know him – who had left he and his mother in Mississippi shortly after he was born – the best he could manage was to be his father’s friend.  He told of staging Shakespeare in college alongside Mark Leonard – who played the Romulan commander in the classic Star Trek episode “Balance of Terror” and Spock’s father Sarek – and knowing other Hollywood legends like Robert Duvaul and Marlon Brando.

It struck me as significant that a man who never really knew his own father as “Dad” landed voicing roles wherein he gave life to some of the worst – Darth Vader in Star Wars – and best – Mufasa in The Lion King – fathers depicted on the silver-screen.  As the interview progressed he made a passing comment that I thought was telling.  Jones said that while we hear that booming voice when he opens his mouth – a voice that can inspire fear, terror, and fatherly love all at once – he still hears the teenage boy with the stutter even after 60+ years.  I was stunned.  But this is the voice of Darth Vader!  This is the voice of Mufasa!  This can’t actually be possible; this is one of the voices that is synonymous with my childhood  like Peter Cullen’s Optimus Prime from Transformers, Mark Hamill’s Joker, Kevin Conroy’s Batman, and David Warner’s Ra’s Al Guhl from Batman:  The Animated Series, and Tim Daley’s Superman alongside Michael Ironside’s Darkseid from Superman:  The Animated Series.  My disbelief aside, it was true indeed.

I thought “if one of the greatest voice legends of the 20th Century sees himself that way, what about the rest of us?  How do we see ourselves?”  Is what we see in the mirror what we should see?

Is there an alternative to what we see in the mirror?  I think there is, and the alternative is what The Father sees when He looks at us.  What, or rather who, does He see when he looks at us?  For believers, He sees Jesus.  Otherwise He sees a creation of His not in fellowship with Him and seeks to pursue individuals to change that.  More than once, recently, I’ve heard the phrase “Hound of Heaven” used to describe how God has pursued others – or is pursuing them – into a relationship with Him; a phrase sometimes used to describe the journey to faith that C.S. Lewis also found himself walking earlier in the 20th Century.

A.W. Tozer once said that “what we think about God is the most important thing about us”.  I would go further and say that what we think about God (The Father and The Son)  – how we view Them – can go a long way to affect how we view ourselves.  If we have a good grasp of how the Creator and Master of the Universe – who took on human form to restore the creation to the Creator, Himself – views individuals (us), it’ll go a long way to altering how we see ourselves and how we view, and treat, others.  As C.S. Lewis said in his sermon – and later printed essay – The Weight of Glory:  “There are no ordinary people, you’ve never talked to a mere mortal…”

When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

Posted on by Aaron in Uncategorized

About Aaron

Author, Speaker, and Super Nerd. Aaron Welty speaks and writes regularly connecting the dots of life, faith, and science fiction. Originally from Michigan, he now lives and works in the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

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