CJ and I have a regular route that we walk and run together. I’ve mapped this particular course #1 because it is a large circle, preferable when one is navigationally challenged, and #2 because it is exactly 2 miles and easy to calculate my efforts when I’m inclined to do so. I noticed this distinctly marked driveway on the very first time around and it made me smile. It still makes me smile every time I see it. I suspect it is the result of an action without much forethought nor concern for what the local home owners association would have to say about it. Just a young boy with a can of spray paint upon which the thought comes to mind to write his name.
I’ve wanted to photograph this signature for a while now but as it is private property and I intended to post the photo on the internet, I thought it wise to obtain permission lest I be considered some kind of creeper with a camera in the neighborhood. I decided on my round with CJ Saturday morning that I would knock on the door and ask. As I approached, however, there was no need to knock for the woman of the house was outside with her dog. From the street I told her how every time I walk by her drive it makes me smile. She warmly replied that her son had scrawled his name there years ago and while she felt she should probably do something to remove it and the now older teenage boy strongly encourages her to do so, she leaves it as is because it makes her smile, too. She graciously permitted me to take the picture and I promised that I would drop by a copy of the blog once written.
One of my granddaughters is the age now that her son was when he made his mark. She loves to write and gifts of paper and pen are always welcomed and treasured. She writes her name and I love the perfectly imperfect way her letters and words form on the pages. She writes little stories and draws pictures and writes simply for the love of writing, the strokes of the pen leaving an imprint of who she is now that will not be forgotten no matter the years that pass. It is a bittersweet ache this grandmother’s heart feels as I watch her grow up faster than I would like.
It is not uncommon for children to write their names. A lot. On papers and tablets and books. In the dirt with a stick or spelled out with rocks. In the sand where the next waves will quickly wash it out to sea. Carved in trees and picnic tables and more than a few desks. And of course, the occasional driveway.
For some children perhaps it is a cry for help, a need for immediate attention. But I think for the most part they are simply the declarations that I was here. This is me. I am. An unconscious, unemotional expression of the need to be known, a need we all have that deepens and most definitely becomes more emotional as we grow older. We want others to know who we truly are, often before we even really know ourselves. We sometimes seek relationships to complete us. We enter professions where our talents and abilities can define us and accolades are our measure of who we are. And while these things may bring a great deal of satisfaction and fulfillment it is not unusual to struggle with insecurities once left alone and all is quiet. Who really knows us? And if they did really know, would they still love us? Are me making our mark on this world in way that matters?
I think of how we look at our own children and see things they cannot see and know things they cannot know about themselves. To know them is so much more than knowing what they do. It’s recognizing the briefest of looks that crossed their face when no one else saw it. It’s understanding their joys and pains when they have no words to describe them. It is knowing that you’ve looked at that little face so many times you have every freckle memorized and would know if one should fade away. And yet, we are still limited by our humanity when it comes to knowing another completely.
But there is One who knows. He knew us before we were ever created in the womb. He knows the very number of hairs on our head. He calls us to come to Him as His children, unafraid in His presence. We are fearfully made and unconditionally loved not because of what we do but for the simple fact that we exist. We are accepted through Jesus as if we have never erred, sung and danced over with unadulterated joy in the heavens. The impact we desire to make, the peace we search for, the fulfillment we long for is founded in a truth that is ours for the taking – we are known by Him.
“To be known” was written by Kay Stinnett and first appeared on http://www.ourpassionatepurpose.com
Photograph by Kay Stinnett and cannot be used without permission.