layers

“Wherever you come near the human race
there’s layers and layers of nonsense.”

Thornton Wilder

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(cliff wall at Little River Canyon State Park / Alabama / Julie Cook / 2015)

Upon first glance the casual observer is greeted by an unassuming rock cliff,
gently embraced by summer’s lush growth…
The rich sensuous greens of life enveloping the hard unmoving foundation of a planet.

But upon closer inspection one is met with the…
complexity of striation,
the melding of coloration,
the confusion of abstraction
and the frustration of complication.

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And then after scrutinizing what was initially the obvious,
which has now emerged into something more along the lines of the miraculous…
we see the wonderment of the unique individual fingerprints of an Omnipotent Creator…

And yet sadly…
some observers simply continue to see a bunch of rocks…..

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“I am the LORD, and there is no other; Besides Me there is no God I will gird you, though you have not known Me; That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun That there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other…
Isaiah 45:5-6

Unique

Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone’s task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.
Viktor E. Frankl

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(spotted at the grocery store this morning / Julie Cook / 2015)

Growing up in Atlanta in the early 1960’s, the most exotic and unique fruit I can recall is maybe the occasional container of raspberries. And of course purple grapes may just have pushed the envelope as we were more accustomed to the green variety. Purple grapes had seeds and mother knew better than to buy grapes with seeds.

For whatever reason when I was little, I always enjoyed playing tag-a-long with my mom when she’d do our weekly grocery shopping. Dad kept poor ol mom on an overtly tight budget so there was never any extra money for fun, festive or exotic items. Just our regular canned tuna, chicken, hamburger meat, bananas, milk, eggs, bacon and cereal. . .Lucky Charms if I was lucky, Captain Crunch if my brother was lucky. On the rare occasion, Mother would afford for our living on the edge by allowing us to choose a box of Raisin Bran.

Those were the days before the whole current “eat bran it’s good for you” movement– Mother didn’t want us eating lots of Raisin Bran because, well you know, that whole bran thing leading to excessive trips to the bathroom—- in my mom’s mind, getting “regular” spelled trouble. Regular was all fine and good, it was the getting to regular that she didn’t enjoy.

There were apples, Tang orange drink mix, Orange juice—the kind that came frozen in a can, Coca Cola, and when the season permitted, popsicles.
Typical 1960’s Americana vittles.

It wasn’t until I was a bit older, a young teen, that I actually started paying attention to the items available to the average shopper. There was actually a world out there of things from faraway lands. Picture the aisle offering “Chinese food”. . .Chop suey in a can. . .whoa. . .

As a family we weren’t known for our travels or adventures.
The grocery store was going to have to provide all of my little adventures.
And sadly it was obvious that I was wired from the get go to be adventurous–
my parents on the other hand. . .not so much.
I blame it on being adopted and on being Sophia Loren’s love child—
Remember, that’s just between you and me. . .Ms Loren has no idea. . .

These far away places and lands called out to my young imagination through the offerings found in a grocery store.
Yet sadly the closest I had ever come to exotic lands and foods was from a roll of tropical fruit lifesavers!

I keenly remember the day Mom let me pick one of each of the most exotic fruits the grocery store had to offer—a papaya, a coconut, a whole pineapple, a kiwi and a mango.
I eagerly brought each fruit home as we, she and I, proceeded to have a true taste adventure.

I’ve never bought a whole coconut or papaya since as the coconut required a screwdriver and a hammer and I simply was not a papaya fan—not much for mangos either but I’ll eat them.

Let’s fast forward 50 years.

A grocery store today is truly a plethora of global sights, scents and tastes.

Pretty much anything you could think of is available. . .
Yucca leaves, rice noodles, Taro root, plantains, wasabi sauce, Israeli pearl couscous,
Mole sauce. . . you name it, if you want it, you can find it–
For all of us my friend, are living in the world of rapid import!

So there I was this morning ambling about the produce section, picking up a few Meyer Lemons, when I noticed a rather unusual fruit.
Now I’ve seen my share of star fruit, ugli fruit, passion fruit and even dragon fruit, but the Uniq fruit was a new one.

Looking like a cross between a giant overly ripe grapefruit and a lime, the outward appearance left a lot to be desired.
I stopped, moving in for closer inspection.
I was surprised to find it to be rather light, no heft of a juice ladened fruit–more wrinkly skin than firm fruit. It gave the impression that once peeled there may be but a thimble full of fruit hiding within the wrinkly citrusy skin.
Not feeling overtly adventurous today, I placed the Uniq back in the bin along with it’s kith n kin, and moved on to the more exotic cut up pineapples and containers of raspberries that I had actually come to purchase.

Yet my unique encounter with the Uniq fruit naturally took my mind to places besides the quest of fruit. . .

Let us consider each human.
Every human being has his or her own unique DNA, yet we are all of the people clan.
We are all pretty similar in our needs, functions, physiological makeup, physical appearance, albeit for skin coloring, hair coloring and texture as for a few subtle facial differences—but all in all, more alike than different.

And yet God, the Master Creator, knows each one of us individually.
All 7 billion and counting of us. .of you, of me. . .

7 billion plus humans and this God, this Creator knows, as in knows individually and intimately, each and every one of the 7 billion and counting folks?!”
Impossible?
Unreal?

It is unreal. . .unreal to wrap our minds around such a mind blowing concept.
That there is a God who is deep within each and every one of us.
For some of us, we already know this and cling to such a knowledge. .
For others, He is a non entity and yet. . .He remains. . .
No one is deemed unworthy, less than, too much trouble to bother with, too poor, too mean
too ugly, too hopeless, too old, too young, too smart, too ignorant,
too selfish, too self absorbed. . .

I ponder over our very being. . .
Our bodies
Our intricacies
Our ears, our eyes, our nose, our mouthes. . .
Our ability to taste, to speak, to touch,
To feel, to cry, to chew, to digest, to eliminate, to reproduce,
To feel empathy, to hate, to kill, to feel joy, to feel despair, to smile, to love. . .

The intricacies of the eye–the retina, the cornea, the rods, the cones, the ability to see color. .
The tongue, its ability to taste, to discern sweet, salty, bitter, savory
The heart which beats incessantly from womb, to birth, to death and yet it has the ability to love
powerfully as well as to break in half. . .

The finger with its own unique set of prints—no two prints are alike in all of the 7 billion plus people–and yet each finger has the ability to feel warmth, to be burned quickly, to sense that which is soft or rough, hot or cold. . .it is used to hush, to accuse, to lure, to soothe. . .

Has all of this merely evolved for survival
Or
Was it created individually, similar and yet unique. . .
Beautiful
Precious
Loved. . .

That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
John 17:21

You are one of a kind, which makes you a stand out

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
― Dr. Seuss

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(lovely Black Skimmer on the beach, Henderson State Park, Destin, Florida / Julie Cook / 2014)

We are each formed and made as a unique and individual creation.
We are not produced as multiple items, as poured from a single mold, nor cut out cookie cutter style with each one made just like the one before it–nor are we laid out assembly line style, piece by piece like the piece before that.

We are each a unique creation.
Even twins, triplets and those of multiple births may share many of the same characteristics, DNA and molecules yet each is a unique individual as each has a unique personality.

Therefore we are each unique and in turn special.
One of a kind.
Priceless.

Hear that what I say. . .we are each one of a kind and therefore priceless.

Not worthless.
Not less than.
Not useless.
Not to be thrown away.
Not to be written off as a nobody.
One of a kind.
A stand out.
Necessary.
Valuable.
Precious.

The Creator of the Universe has proclaimed that:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you. . .”

Jeremiah 1:5

You–so wonderfully and skillfully known, formed and made.
You who are precious to a loving and masterful Creator.

Feel free to stand boldly tall–to stand out
for you, dear child, are one of a kind.

Priceless.