I have never met anyone who loves their driver’s license picture – seriously, never. I go to great lengths to keep mine hidden. It’s easier these days than it used to be. Those of us who have been around a few years remember that we used to have to flash it regularly, back in the day when writing checks was the norm. (I am showing my age here, I know.) It was always a dread to write the check, hand it to the cashier and hear the unpleasant words, “can I see your driver’s license, please?” I remember paying extra to have my license number printed on my checks in hopes to avoid having to show it. Never worked. I mean, not only do they manage to get the worst picture you’ve ever taken in your life, but it also proudly proclaims your weight, height and, if it could, any other any embarrassing fact about you. (My driver’s license pictures over the years range from, wow! She’s awkward to Man! Is she receiving medical attention for that?) I can still remember the heat in my face as I would show my picture and mentally be rehearsing how I would explain my weight. “Why, yes, I know I don’t look exactly like the picture, I may have gained a pound, or twenty, since I renewed the license.” Or, “Please tell me you don’t recognize me in the picture, that would totally make my day.” Recently, my son had to get his license renewed; he was so hopeful to get his picture updated. You see, when he took his last license picture he was in the, “I’m not gonna smile phase.” He honestly looks like he doesn’t feel good. It’s bad, I’m saying that and I’m his mother. You get the idea. Anyway, he went to the DMV, which is everyone’s worst nightmare (sorry if you work there, it’s nothing personal), and waited his turn. He had already decided this time was going to be better; he would smile and feel proud of his picture. Be willing to show anyone who wanted to see it, no more shame. So when his turn came, he sat in front of the camera, waiting for the 3,2,1 countdown, smiling from ear to ear in a very unnatural, yet strangely happy looking pose. Click, the picture recorded on the computer. Feeling so glad for the opportunity to change the previous picture he waited for the go ahead to get up and let the next poor soul in line behind him have theirs taken. But, no command for “next” came. Quite the contrary, she gives the countdown again, 3,2.1, awkward smile, a little more tentative and curious this time. Wouldn’t be as good as take 1, but okay. Still no command to move on. (We all know we do not move until we’re told in places like this, that can result in embarrassing barks from the employee, again, sorry if you work there, just speaking from personal experience.) Finally, she pipes up, “I’m sorry, sir, the system doesn’t seem to recognize you while you’re smiling. I am going to need you to make the same face you made in the last picture so you can be identified. What?? NO!! He didn’t want to be “identified” by the same face! He was ready for change, positive and different. He wanted others to know it, he was way over the not smiling phase, yet this computer was not going to let him move on. How sad. So, he makes the same face, gets his picture taken, the computer recognizes him, he gets his license, and moves on…”next!” Hearing this story, I couldn’t help but think how true this is in life. We make a change, God does an amazing work and folks around us don’t “recognize” us. They don’t know how to process this new person that is being shaped and becoming different, so they try to put us back in the mold we want so badly to lose association with. We become forever branded because of past choices or hurts. Or maybe we do that to others, someone who hurt us and now they will forever look the same because we think we can’t or we won’t recognize them in any other way. Never allowing them to change or break free from the old person they were…nope, please stay where you are so I can identify you. How sad. I want to really work on this, to allow those in my life seeking change to be given the opportunity in the data base of my mind. To allow them a different “picture.” Did I mention earlier how thankful I am for the debit card age? I still have a terrible picture on my license, and I would have to be an elf to weigh what is says I weigh. (It’s tough to be honest with my myself about it, especially with 5 people standing in line behind me and I know they are craning an ear to hear what I say!!) And now my poor son has the same type of picture on his, he has officially joined the ranks of adulthood. (That is part of the criteria for adulthood in my book, hating your license picture.) Now he will shudder when he has to show it as well. I want his experience to be a reminder to me to make a conscience effort to not be like the DMV and keep people in a box, unwilling to recognize them differently. I want to let them proclaim their new picture and hide their weight like any other decent adult!