Last week, I started a riot. Quite innocently, I posted on Facebook the opportunity to decipher a mystery. Two images were provided as clues. Both images were edits of the original picture I had taken. By analyzing the two augmentations of the real McCoy, my curious compadres were invited to put their detective skills to task in deducing what the original photo actually was. It seemed simple enough, but that was the trick. I knew no one was going to guess it correctly.
I like to think of myself as an artistic contributor and curator of exquisite social media posts and shares. Alas, I just don’t get that many likes or comments. To their credit, my friends who do engage with my online content usually do so with pure hearts and genuine encouragement, but I’ve found that there is a large segment of silent gawkers out there. For instance, I’ll run into people at the grocery store who tell me they love everything I post, and yet, they never actually like or comment on anything I post…ever. It’s kind of odd. But this past week, people came out of the woodwork in droves to solve the unsolvable mystery. It was by far the most engaged post I have ever contributed.
I didn’t expect this kind of reaction, and I certainly wasn’t planning on writing about it in my opinion column, but then it evolved into an intriguing monstrosity of sorts. The guesses poured down like Seattle rain: chicken head, bonfire, donut, sombrero, dog, woman in a hat crossing a bridge, and so many other wrong guesses. People were losing sleep over this and becoming ever so slightly irate. A few joking threats on my life were alluded to as people grew impatient awaiting the revelation of the one true answer. It was all in good fun, and as my friends plumbed the depths of possibilities, I pondered the deeper meaning of it all.
You see, while taking a shower, I looked down (don’t worry, this is not going to get X-rated) at the corner of my shower curtain and saw how a small colony of mold had grown on the curtain, primarily around the circular magnet. The mold resembled the inkblots of a Rorschach test. To me, it looked like a bearded man with a staff standing on a mountain surrounded by wild beasts. Instantly, I knew this would be fun for others. So, after putting my clothes on (totally not X-rated), I snapped a picture of the divinely gifted organic growth so I might share it with the world. True story, that’s what happened. I then edited the image, adjusting only the colors to make the game more interesting.
Yeah, it was mold, y’all. But you’re missing the bigger story here. Every single one of our lives are like that picture of mold. People will look at your life through the colored lenses of their own perceptions, viewing the organic growth that is you, and will try to decipher who you are and what you really are. And the awful truth is that all of them might get you wrong. They will try to judge you with their limited perceptions and wild imaginations, and they will get your story horribly wrong. They will gossip with their friends, sometimes ignorantly and other times maliciously, saying how much of a chicken head you really are. And it will all be wrong. They got Jesus wrong, and they’ll get you wrong, too.
But take heart. There is one who sees you perfectly, with all your failings and flaws, and He calls you beloved. Never forget that.
PAUL MICHAEL JONES is an artist who currently dabbles in music, photography and creative writing.