Will the Real Jill Burks Please Stand Up?
We’re finally here – at our favorite resort in the country – the Greenbrier. We left Williamsburg around lunchtime and had a leisurely drive to here to White Sulphur Springs, WV where the Greenbrier is located. We had a pleasant surprise when we arrived; the Christmas decorations, for the most part, are still up; and the front drive is still in full holiday mode. In fact, Janet and I upgraded our accommodations to a room that overlooks the front portico entrance. We have never been here when all the Christmas regalia is still up, and it is beautiful.
In short, we just love this place. The first time we came here was to celebrate Janet’s parents’ 50th wedding anniversary 14 years ago. Since then, we have tried to return as often as we can – it’s one of the few places that I can just kick back, relax, try to forget about the real world for several days and just enjoy this incredible 7000 acre resort. Some people like the fly fishing, or the golf courses which are world class, or the fine dining, the skeet and clay pigeon areas, horseback riding, etc. I am sure you get the idea – but we just chill out, read, watch the ice skaters, walk through the grounds and visit the small artisan shops scattered around the property.
One of the favorite places we like to visit when we are here is a very casual restaurant named Draper’s. It’s a burger and sandwich place that overlooks the casino and several years ago the place was moved from another part of the main building to it’s current location. Granted, it’s not the place to go if you really want fine dining, but it fits in with our theme of just kicking back when we are here.
Anyway, the last time we were here, we went to Draper’s the first night of our visit; and our server was named Jill Burks, the exact same name as our younger daughter Jill. I was a little stunned, as I had never known another Jill Burks. Of course, we engaged her in conversation and even had her as our server several times during our visit. We took her picture and texted it to our Jill. The whole thing was just kind of fun.
Well tonight, we decided to go to Draper’s for our traditional casual arrival dinner. I was thinking about both Jills; and we ended up being seated at a table in the middle of the restaurant. I was about to ask our server if Jill was still around, when all of a sudden I saw her out of the corner of my eye. I think she may have recognized us; anyway, she stopped by the table and I confirmed that she was in fact Jill Burks. She mentioned that she remembered having her picture taken last year and asked how our Jill was doing. She even asked us to say “hello” for her. We chatted several minutes and then Jill was off to assist the patrons she was responsible for. It was a nice exchange.
I got to thinking about the whole episode. After all, the only thing that connected us to Jill was the fact that she shared the same name as our daughter. And I was surprised how much stronger the connection felt because they share both a first, and last, name – Jill Burks – how common can that be? I noticed that I wasn’t the only one who fell under the spell. Jill, as I already mentioned, asked us to mention her to our daughter; and she wanted to know how our Jill was doing… Now I understand that she is a professional server, but I don’t think her interest was contrived. I think she was genuinely interested in her namesake.
I started thinking about all the other people I know and have connections with. When you meet someone, do you ever think the person reminds you of someone you already have a relationship with? Something like, “Gee, you look like my friend…..” or “You remind me of someone I went to school with…” or “My brother’s name is ……” I know that I do.
So it was nice to re-connect with Greenbrier Jill and catch up with her since the last time we visited together. In fact, I hope that we are in her section sometime this visit so we can chat a little longer.
I got to thinking about how we can sometimes even lump people together. In fact, as I write this, I recall that one of the reasons that our daughter was named Jill was because my cousin Laurel had a friend named Jill when they were back in high school. Jill was always so kind to my brother Doug and me that we both really liked her, aside from the fact that she was blond and really pretty! Anyway, I know that those experiences of exhibiting kindness to us somehow entered into my love of the name Jill. It’s odd how some things stick in our brains.
But even though we tend to group people together, God never does. To Him, each of us is an individual, endowed by Him with certain gifts that are unique in all creation. In fact, it wouldn’t make any difference to God if every person on the earth had the same name. To Him, we are each a work of art, created in His image; and each of us has a special blend of gifts, passions and style that are divinely given to us. Incidentally, that means that each of us has a mission that we have been created to achieve as well.
The verse tonight reflects God’s intent for our individuality. From Psalm 139:16, we are told, “your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” In other words, God ordained the life that each of us is to lead – and that’s really special.
My encouragement tonight is to make sure that you express your God given uniqueness. Break the mold – be the person you were created to be. And my prayer is that by authentically and genuinely being the person God created you to be, you will be a joy to Him and to everyone you encounter here on earth. So Jill Burks – both of you – stand up and be you. Because you are completely different in the eyes of God. By the way, that goes for all the rest of you as well…… Grace and peace,