A Display of Fandom
By Anthony Casperson

One group of people, for whom I am a fan, recently decided to celebrate their talented community by showcasing some of the fanart they’ve collected in a gallery for a few days. With limited space in the art gallery, there had to be decisions made about whose work to display. Not to mention the fact that non-gallery art (such as cosplay, fanfiction, etc.) would be left without a place in the celebration.

The group members are quite thoughtful people who hold their fans in high regard. However, with so many people who enjoy their work, various celebrations aren’t able to encapsulate every single fan’s various acts of appreciation. Sure, a stray tweet or fan letter might gain a response, but that is certainly not the norm for every fan interaction. So, when I saw members of the fan community start to take it personally when their art wasn’t going to be on display, it made me question why.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that many of these fans are neuro-atypical (struggle with some form of depression, anxiety, chemical imbalance, etc.). Even quite a few members of the group are. (And I am too.) This multiplies the visceral response to rejection. But even considering that, the reaction of certain fans seemed disproportionate to the practical reality.

And then it hit me. For the fans who spend week after week watching the group, sharing their experiences, they feel like close friends. But the group members (good as they are with fan interaction) will never be able to hold that many relationships in any meaningful way. And so, to those fans who believe themselves to be close friends with the group, but are unrepresented in their various works of passion, it seems like a personal slight to be left out. They felt as though the relationship had been stronger than that.

There’s a need built in every human being for relationship (and this statement is coming from a super-introvert here). We’re designed to exist with others. And so, when such relationships fail to perform what we believe they should, we end up in pain. And the truth is that human beings will always fail in some form or another. None of us is perfect.

While thinking about this, I was reminded of the fact that the one who implanted this relational need into human beings is also the only perfect one, the only one capable of unfailingly giving us all of the personal interaction that we need. God created us not only to represent him on this earth, but also for the express purpose of relating with us.

God walked with our first ancestors in the cool of the day on a regular basis. He enfleshed himself in humanity to bring us back into right relationship with him. And he will, one day, dwell among us, wiping every tear from our eyes. God knows us more intimately than anyone else ever could, even knowing the number of hairs on our head.

The sacrifice of our praise and the sweet-smelling aroma of our prayers to him are appreciated in ways for beyond our understanding. They aren’t just going to sit in a room for a couple of days and then be forgotten. And even our “worst” is cherished by the God of the universe.

We should never have to wonder about our standing with God. We’re worth dying for. And though we might forget that, or not feel it to be true, it is always true to God.