So what is an Icon? Literally, it means an image. When we think of Icons we often think of people who are larger than life, people who symbolize movements or ideals like Bob Marley, Chez Guevara, or Martin Luther King Jr. These are people who's faces end up on t-shirts, and sometimes the image is used for things the person never intended. We like to do that kind of thing. We glamorize "idols" and love to lift up the ones who are truly weird but still successful. Why? I guess it's because it make us feel better about ourselves. No matter how good we are we know we can't be MLK or Gandhi, so isn't it good that some one else was. No matter how bad we are at least we aren't Jennifer.
Icons are also smaller than life. It is the term we use to describe the little images we click on to open a computer program. They move us from something small into something bigger. In the Christian tradition, Icons have been used in this same way for centuries. These Icons are pictures that are usually focused on the face of Jesus. The idea is that as you consider God's love for you, you begin to feel God's presence in your life. Icons are a window into heaven in the same way that a person's eyes can tell you a lot about what they are thinking and feeling.
When I was a teenager I heard someone say, "The eyes are the window of the soul." I immediately began wearing sun glasses anywhere and all the time. I even custom painted sunglasses with splatter painted designs to the point I could barely see out of some pairs. Brilliant. I was in a lot of pain because of my parent's divorce, and I did not want to let anyone in for fear of being hurt even more. It didn't happen all at once, but over time I came to realize that the only way out was to let others in. The one who showed me this through the examples of others was Jesus.
Everyone has their own reason for feeling awkward at times. If you don't think you do, then you are hiding from yourself under some pretty thick shades. But the good news is this, in 2 Corinthians 5:6-21, Paul reminds us that we can take off our shades and look directly into the Son. In fact we have to. In fact, when we do, we become the "Icon" that someone else needs. So take time to look others in their eyes. Take time to look Jesus in his eyes. Chances are, you'll find that you can see yourself more clearly when you do.
Take care, have fun, and be the person your best friend thinks that you are.