Saturday, January 1, 2011

"Where's [Your Name Here]?"

In an album somewhere lies one of my favorite pictures of all time.

It was taken at my wife's brother's wedding in Japan. And as the oldest son of the oldest son of a very old and noble family, it was a fairly formal thing. So, of course, I wore a nice shirt and tie.

Everyone else, though (i.e., all the non-foreigners), wore more traditional Japanese wedding attire, the men in black suits and the women in elegant black kimono. 

It was also a fairly large affair, since my father-in-law is one of nine children.

The wedding went well and after the ceremony, like they do all over the world, groups formed and photographers did their thing. I was in a couple pictures with my wife and children. And a couple more with the full family. And then I was forgotten.

All was as it should be.

Things went on like this very nicely for a while, until the ladies of the family decided to gather for one shot of just the "matriarchs".  Soon, eleven (all eight aunts, my wife, her mother and her grandmother) middle-aged to elderly women gathered for a dignified photo in their striking outfits.

Obviously in no danger of being asked to step in, I stood off to the side and enjoyed this scene that seemed almost from a different age.

But then something went terribly wrong. They caught me.

If you've ever seen "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" you'll have some idea what kind of irresistible tidal wave of humanity my wife's family can be. Once those women decided I should be in their picture, there was no escaping.

And so, there I am.

A tall awkwardly-smiling white man, brown hair, bright white shirt, back row, left corner.
And all around me nothing but tiny Asian ladies in black silk kimono.

Looking at it now, it's hard to believe I wasn't photoshopped in as a joke.
For years I've shown the picture to people and asked, "Can you find me?!"
It's like the worst "Where's Waldo?" ever.

It's a hoot, for sure.  But this week I found a more practical application for it.

Do all things without grumbling or questioning,
that you may be blameless and innocent, 
children of God without blemish
in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation,
among whom you shine as lights in the world.
     - Philippians 2:14~15

Paul makes it very clear that God wants every Christian to be a tall smiling white man in a group of tiny Asian women.

Well, not exactly.
But you get the picture.

(Pun quite possibly intended.)