What’s the one time “I’m sorry” and “I apologize” don’t mean the same thing? -- at a funeral.
The story continues....
One year our children came to us before Christmas with a kit which had tubes which we had to spit into for our surprise Christmas present. They were planning to send it away for genetic ancestry testing.
On Christmas day our heredity, ethnicities and such were to be revealed.
I drew the short straw and had to open mine first. Not much of a surprise. It was what one would expect from our Mennonite background. European West 61% Scandinavia 29% Europe East 4% - but then I had 2% Finland and 2% Great Britain.
When my loving wife, Wilma heard I had a small percentage of “English” in me, she laughed saying, “No wonder you’re such a snob!” This kind of statement dates back to our early childhood cultural prejudices. We all laughed of course, simply for the absurdity of the statement on all levels.
But then she read her results that revealed that she was dominantly Great Britain 66% percent "English."
Everyone just howled! Got her!
This was our introduction into the power of DNA.
My sculpture "Nano Speck" is basically a simple, physical DNA magnified in dramatic black and white colors so we can take a good look at it. Why would I make a sculpture like this?
I'm not a scientist, I would never have thought to even study DNA, but we were exposed to DNA almost every day of the trial in some way or other. DNA was the core argument in the trial. It was submitted as the prime evidence that would convict the accused of murder. So the trial actually became a course on the science of DNA.
in some ways this line of argument was risky because DNA had only been discovered a few years earlier and was still in its infancy. The lab which analyzed the evidence for our first trial in the Winnipeg court house was also new at it.
But DNA had already proven to be a truth serum - so to speak. In many court cases where circumstantial evidence was sketchy, DNA had come to the rescue and revealed the real guilty party very easily and with new certainty.
As I listened to the experts explain and the Defence attack the validity and credibility of the scientists, the tests and the lab in every way possible, I was being educated. Not only that, I became very curious about this amazing feature in our bodies - this tiny computer chip in every cell!
I started to do my own research on how DNA really worked! What I was learning exploded in my brain. Imagine every time a cell divides, it replicates itself identically - and even has a systems in place to check whether the replication went correctly! Just think of how many cells we have in our body and how often they duplicate, and the chances of making a mistake are almost impossible, especially with this double-checking process included!
Realizing this is happening in our bodies all our lives, it becomes clear that can't morph into a different animal. It will not and cannot make us into something else! Ever! DNA gives us a personal code, our unique address, so that no matter what part of our body is checked - there is a return address.
It was like learning a new aspect of God our Creator.
I’d been taught that God knew the true number of hairs on my and everyone else’s head! That actually did not impress me much as I wondered how much math God must be doing just to keep track of everyone’s hair loss every morning as seven billion or so people in the world shower, dry, comb, and curl their hair! Now I realize it takes no time at all - it's just all tabulated in a programmed computer behind the pearly gates somewhere.
What is also amazing is that within a tiny space in every cell of our body, this code is 3 billion letters long!
Suddenly the hair thing seems like child’s play!
I was learning that I wasn't the only one changed by the discovery of DNA.
“On June 26, 2000, President Bill Clinton congratulated those who completed the human genome sequencing, and acknowledged DNA as God’s creation. He said, “Today we are learning the language in which God created life. We are gaining ever more awe for the complexity, the beauty, the wonder of God’s most divine and sacred gift.”
Dr. Francis Collins, director of the Human Genome Project, followed the president to the podium, stating, “It is humbling for me, and awe-inspiring, to realize that we have caught the first glimpse of our own instruction book, previously known only to God.”
As an artist, I wanted to play with this new concept.
But when I started forming the Nano speck, I knew that it would only remain a feeble symbolic effort to represent the miraculous structure of DNA - our creator designed as a stamp on us that makes each of us into a gingivally recognizable image of our great Creator!
I made this sculpture to inform and remind me of where we come from and what we are made of! It was my message to call all of us out of our comfort zone and realize how wonderfully each one of us is uniquely made. To remind us that we are not an accident!
As Dr. Ali Binazir also exposes in his work - the extremely intricate chain of events that needs to occur in order for anyone to be born. Apparently the probability of the right sperm meeting the right egg is 1in 400 quadrillion. We are a miracle. We are intentional. We are chosen!
DNA convinced me again that each one of us is special, having a personal code built in, and is not a mistake and that there is an intelligence behind all of creation, plants, animals and humans!
Oh, and please note, I’ve asked my wife to forgive me for including that snobbery joke in this piece -- which she has done!
being known and loved in a unique way, being singled out.
In our society our being chosen
always implies that others are not chosen.
But this is not true for God.
God chooses his Son to reveal to us our chosenness.
In the Kingdom of God there is no competition or rivalry.
The Son of God shares his chosenness with us.
In the Kingdom of God each person is precious and unique,
and each person has been given eyes to see
the chosenness of others and rejoice in it.
- Henri Nouwen