Dictionaries define a doppelgänger variously as:

  • An evil twin
  • A double of a living person
  • A person who has the same name as another

Now, most of us have an accurate fix on what we look like—we see the same face and body in the mirror on a regular basis. We have seen our own photos and perhaps videos of ourselves.

None of this, however, prepared me for the afternoon in a northern Washington State town when I looked into the rearview mirror of my parked car and saw, stepping out of the car behind me—me!

Same face. Same body. Exact same hairstyle. Same way of walking. Even the same kind of clothes.

A clone. An identical twin. A body double.

He glanced my way; I turned to look at him. Our eyes met. Then he turned, walked to the street corner, and disappeared. I could have followed him (me), but I was simply too stunned.

Billions of people on Planet Earth—and I had just, without warning, met an exact copy of myself. Don’t challenge me on this. Do you know what you look like? Well, so do I.

Two or three years later, I’m in the waiting room of a transmission shop in the San Francisco Bay Area. They are supposed to be about done servicing my T-mission. I’m killing time looking at the cutaway graphic of a transmission on the wall, realizing once again why it’s one part of a car I’ll never try to fix on my own.

Greasy guy steps to the counter and calls out, “Ken McFarland?”

I open my mouth to answer, and hear the words “I’m Ken McFarland.”

Only I’m not the one who said the words—they’ve come from somewhere behind me.

I turn and see a guy who looks nothing like me striding to the counter.


What are the odds that two Ken McFarlands would just happen to have cars in the same shop at the exact same time? I mean, neither of us was named John Smith or Joe Jones.

We stopped, looked at each other, did a long double take, then enjoyed this rare encounter.

Rare, for sure. It had never happened before in all my life—has never happened since.

“They” say that somewhere in this big wide world, each of us has a double—a doppelgänger. I feel rather privileged that somehow, I got a chance to meet first, my physical doppelgänger—and later, one of my doppelgängers in name.

But despite these nearly incredible encounters, I fully realize that no one in the world is in fact a duplicate of me. Just as no one is a copy of you. As God made us, we are each unique.

In all the history of this world, there has never been anyone exactly like you. No one on earth at this moment is just like you. And in all remaining history, no one will ever be your duplicate—or mine.

We’re as individual as snowflakes. We’re a non-repeatable, irreplaceable, once-in-all-eternity, miraculous creation of God. When life ends and we’re gone, we leave a vacuum that can’t ever be refilled—a mighty void against the sky.

Celebrate your individuality. Realize that God made you with an absolutely unique combination of traits. Your body, your mind, your temperament, your personality, your preferences, your way of seeing things, your talents, your mannerisms—all are unlike anyone else who has ever lived, is living, or ever will.

And—you and I are not here by accident. God custom-designed us to be who we are. That being true, how can any of us legitimately wish we were someone else? How can any of us question our own value? How can any of us question the value of anyone else?

Yes, I’ve met my doppelgänger in appearance. I’ve met my doppelganger in name (at least one of them; Google tells me there are a bunch more of us). But I’ll never meet my exact clone. God doesn’t make clones.

I am me. You are you. As Dr. Seuss said:

“Today you are you,
that is truer than true.
There is no one alive
who is youer than you.”

Let’s really cut loose and celebrate that!


One response to this post.

  1. I’ve never had a doppelganger either in name or looks, although I have had some experiences with people whose surnames were a lot like mine.

    I don’t know how I would have made it as an identical twin, but I do know that after a few years of being “just me,” I’d rather keep it like that.

    God must love diversity for it to be such a rare thing to meet or see someone who looks like us.



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