One of my all-time favorite movies is Hook. This 1991 film features Robin Williams as a grown-up Peter Pan who’s forgotten who he really is. After Captain Hook kidnaps his children, Peter travels to Neverland to be reunited with the Lost Boys, Wendy, and his childhood self.
Fans of this movie might name other moments that move them, but for me, the most touching scene is when Peter meets his friends again for the first time in years — and they don’t recognize him. One little boy, rather than fight him or call him names, walks right up to Robin Williams’ character. He pulls him down to his level, removes his glasses, and gently puts his hands on either side of the man’s face. He squishes and pulls on his forehead and cheeks until his eyes light up. He recognizes his friend!
“There you are, Peter.”
I felt a little like grown-up Peter Pan the other day in the Starbucks drive-thru line.
Stopping on my way to work, I ordered my iced latte and pulled around to the window. When a woman leaned out to hand me my drink, she took a second look and said, “You look familiar. Are you from Lawson?”
I acknowledged that I was, indeed, from that very small town and told her my maiden name. Recognition immediately brightened her face and she told me her name. We made small-town small talk for a minute more, then I was on my way. But I couldn’t stop thinking about the way she knew who I was.
Our families had gone to church together for maybe a year or two. Nearly 40 years ago! She was several years ahead of me in school, and even her younger brother was two years older than me and not a close friend. But somehow she looked at my 44-year-old face, tired and full and a little bit wrinkled, and she could see me in there. It was a Hook-level miracle!
I’m currently in a season of transition and change — and a little unsure of who I am today. Am I reverting to who I was? Am I becoming someone completely different? Can I hold onto any parts from before? Are they even in there? What determines who I am? Is it my status or role or relationship to others? Is it my personality type or Enneagram number or generation or birth order? Is it the job I used to have or the one I have now? Is it the things I do today or the ones I still dream of doing?
Have you ever had these questions?
Perhaps it was a career change, milestone birthday, or a chance run-in with a long-forgotten acquaintance that prompted your own wonderings. Maybe you became a parent or lost a parent, changed marital status or moved to a new state, or experienced something as small as coloring your hair or putting away your signature sneakers. Any number of things can trigger an avalanche of questions that add up to, “Who am I?” and “Does anyone see me? The real me?”
As I’ve pondered all this (and repeatedly revisited that sweet scene in Hook), I’ve also remembered Psalm 139. It’s a popular passage, and for good reason. Who doesn’t crave the reminder that we are wonderfully made by a wonderful Creator (verse 14)? In this psalm, David talks about how God created him and knew him from the very beginning. God created us too, of course. He created our inmost beings and knitted us together in our mothers’ wombs (verse 13).
But that’s not where the story ends (or begins). Though David looks back and praises God for His creativity and artistry and care for each one of His children, he actually begins this song to the Lord by saying, “You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways” (verses 1-3).
God knows us. He is familiar with all our ways.
No matter how old we get…
No matter how many wrinkles decorate our faces…
No matter how much our jeans size or job title changes…
The God of this universe, my Creator and yours, my heavenly Father and yours, knows us. He knows exactly who we were and exactly who we are. He searches us just like the little Lost Boy in Hook, squishing and smoothing all the things we carry, all the things that change, all the ways the world imprints on our hearts and minds and bodies. He searches us and He knows us.
God knows who you are. He knows who I am. God knows us and loves us, as we were and as we are right now.
If you’re going through a time of transition, change, or uncertainty, I pray that you remember that the One who created you still knows you. He will always recognize you. Nothing you or I can do will stop God from looking at us with love and saying, “There you are!”