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  • Maggie Wallem Rowe

The One Question You Never Want to be Asked. Or Maybe You Do.

Is there one question casual acquaintances ask that makes you want to slap them silly? Metaphorically, of course.

If you’ve been married more than a year or two, it might be this: “So when are you guys going to have a baby?”

If allergies cause you to sneeze or cough into your face mask in public, it could be: “Do you think you have Covid?”

Or if the extra weight gain you’ve sustained is evident, the absolute worst is, “When is the baby due?”

But here’s the one I dread: “Do you know who you remind me of?”

I don’t know about you, but I brace myself when that one comes.

It doesn’t happen as much now that I’m older, but in my younger years when I had a public ministry, I got that question – and the unwelcome answer – a lot.

I ruefully recall an older woman who approached me looking smug after I delivered a keynote message at a regional conference in New England in the early 90’s.

“I’ve finally figured it out!” she said. “Who you remind me of.”

Uh-oh, I thought. Here it comes.

“Carol Channing!“ she exclaimed. “You know – the Broadway actress who does musicals.”

Yes, I knew. The older one with the wild blonde hair and the big mouth.

Carol Channing. And I suppose I did wear my hair like that at one time...

“That’s the one!” she said triumphantly. “You look just like her!”

Or the time some years later when a man on the opposite side of a church dispute sat across from me at a table in Boston. Loud enough for me to overhear, he remarked to the man next to him, “Do you know who she looks like?”

Uh-oh, I thought. Not Carol Channing again.

That would have been pleasant, actually.

“She looks just like Steven Tyler!”

The man’s companion sounded bewildered. “The lead singer with Aerosmith? The Demon of Screamin’? That’s a guy.”

“Yeah, but look at the mouth and the hair. Dead ringer.”

Boston-based Aerosmith lead singer Steven Tyler. We are not related.

Ah ha, well then. Let me just excuse myself and go join a rock group. Or maybe hide under a rock.

We all know that outward appearance is superficial. Beauty, or the lack of it, is skin deep. It doesn’t matter who we look like as much as who we are like.

I’ve been thinking lately of friends who strongly remind me of someone.

There’s Cindy, who has persevered through major challenges raising four kids while dedicating her life to ministry to women. Cindy encourages at all times.

There’s Beth, a longtime friend with a global teaching ministry who has taken tremendous heat in recent years but never treats her critics as they treat her. Beth loves at all times.

There’s Gail, my mentor of many years, whose quiet wisdom and empathetic heart has blessed countless women in ministry. Gail believes in others at all times.

And there’s Mike, my husband of forty-four years, who lifts others up while never seeking the spotlight for himself. Mike serves at all times.

Boy, they remind me of someone, and I bet you can guess exactly who.

“Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is." 1 John 3:2

Copyright 2020, Maggie Wallem Rowe


Maggie's first book, This Life We Share, has just released from NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

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Photo Credit: Daphne Woodall

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