“That’s not really how I look and sound,” he frowned.
My oldest son pressed the “play” button, viewing again the video of himself that he and his brothers had recently made. I watched as he studied himself with wonder, fascinated at the face staring back at him from the screen, unsure if he liked the voice that was coming out of the mouth that looked like his.
“Actually, it is,” I said. “That’s exactly how you look and sound.”
He cocked his head and smiled. “Really?” he asked. “I’m surprised! I guess I thought I look and sound different because I only know myself from inside myself. I needed my video to see me right!”
He giggled as he ran off to find his brothers, content with his newfound identity.
I smiled and returned to my book. It had been several months since I began it and I was still less than a quarter through the massive tome, but some friends were reading Kristin Lavransdatter, and I wanted to finish reading it with them. The candle flickered on the table beside me as I returned to 14th Century Norway, struggling to remember the unfamiliar names, but intrigued by the Medieval setting and the story of young Kristin.
I recalled a discussion about the book I had with those friends some months earlier. One friend had remarked how she hated Kristin, appalled by her depravity and foolishness. Others, who were much further along in the story than I was, heartily agreed. I had kept silent. At the time, I was only a few chapters in and Kristin was a delightful child. I braced myself for the fall from grace I knew was coming by their admonitions of her behavior.
As I read on, though, I found myself unsettled. I hated Kristin too, yes. But I was unnerved by the discovery of how much I actually understood her. I was startled to find that her thoughts were my thoughts, her feelings the same as my own.
“She thought about her own heart, which fully understood what was right and wrong, and yet she had always yearned for what was not righteous.”
The words resonated deep within me. Our sins were different, of course, but the stubborn willfulness to continue in them and to justify our actions were identical. And I was aghast.
“Surely not,” I thought to myself, as I wept over the pain and anguish she caused her loved ones. My heart broke for those she had dishonored and betrayed, but also for Kristin too--for her obstinate insistence on her own way, in spite of the consequences. “It cannot be,” I whispered.
That’s not really how I look and sound.
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