Life as a Lake Ann intern comes with numerous opportunities for reflections and learning. If you complete an internship here without learning something, it’s your own fault. The program is also structured so that we’re given lots of time to reflect on what we’re learning; processing time. We do a fair amount of writing as part of the program. Most of that is focused on what we’ve learned so far and how we’re going to apply it. I love thinking about ideas and how things in the world are connected.
Lake Ann is first and foremost a summer camp, and we’re in the midst of the “off-season.” We stay busy hosting guest groups and running retreats. However, there is also a considerable amount of time where the only people here are the interns and full-time staff. It gets pretty quiet around here, and it becomes the perfect environment for reflecting.
I love words, and I love the word “Reflections” because of its wide variety of meanings. Reflection can refer to that time you spend in your mind thinking about how your interactions with your environment. However, the idea of a reflection is most commonly associated with a mirror. It’s an image of something we interact with within our environment. When we remember how God made us in His image, a mirror becomes a great means to describe our relationship.We’re a reflection of God in a mirror that’s been fractured.
Fractured comes from a Latin word called frangere. It means “to break.” Frangere gave way to the word fractura and eventually became the adjective we’re familiar with today. The world around us and the humans that live in it are often referred to as broken. Broken is a good word to use when trying to describe that mirror analogy I just referred to. In college one of my closest friends and best mentors was explaining to me why Christian community is important. She explained it to me like this: It’s like we’re all pieces of a mirror that’s been shattered into infinitesimally small pieces. While we reflect the image of God, our reflection is only a sliver of what He is.
A community is important because you meet and learn from other Christians. They’ll show you a different reflection of who God is. Your idea of who God is will become more complete. In turn, your reflection of Him will also become more complete, if only a little bit so. It makes my mind spin to think of the intelligence of a human made in God’s image. Yet, that intelligence is only a tiny sliver of what He is.
This relationship could be described as a fractal. You were probably passing notes to your classmates (or to your sister if you were homeschooled like me) while your eighth-grade math teacher was trying to explain fractals to you. You might be able to guess that fractal and fractured share the same Latin roots. A fractal is a smaller part of something that shares a characteristic of the whole to which it belongs. In this way, we fractals of the God who made us; tiny parts that share characteristics with Him. Fractals are everywhere. Coastlines, snowflakes, trees, and ferns are all good examples of fractals. They all have patterns that repeat themselves as you look at them in closer detail.
Take the universe we live in and a molecule. One is so large we can’t even grasp the idea of it in our minds, and the other is too small to see. A molecule is made of many tiny particles separated by (in relative terms) huge amounts of space. This is not so unlike what our universe looks like. There is a pattern that makes these two objects that are so unlike in many ways, very much alike in others. To me, this begs the question: what, besides a supremely intelligent designer, could create an environment that’s full of beautiful diversity, but is designed with intricate threads that tie that diversity together into patterns we can see?
Today, don’t be discouraged by the fact that we’re fractured and broken. Be encouraged by the greatness of the God that we reflect.
In what ways do you see the reflections of God in your life?