I’ve had mirrors on my mind all day after yesterday’s post where I mentioned Rabbi Sasso’s suggestion that God is like a mirror. I’ve never cared for what I see in a physical mirror. I also seldom like what I see in the mirror of the people around me, but that is often because I only consider them to be a mirror in those moments when they are annoying me because I know that my negative reactions to other people are really just reactions to the shadow parts of myself that I don’t like. As I ponder the idea of God as a mirror, I catch myself doing the same things. The first things that come to mind are the ways that I have viewed God negatively (i.e. as an angry judge) and the thought that this must be a mirror of what I’m like, not what God is like.
For the first time, though, my pondering of this today made me realize that in each mirror—a physical one, the mirror of other people (or situations or events), and the mirror of God—I only see the negative aspects of the reflections. I never see someone I deeply admire and wonder whether I admire that person’s characteristics or accomplishments because I have the same traits in my shadow that I am not using. I did ponder God as a mirror and credit that reflection with showing me the places where I act with love or generosity or healing. This inability to see my good points is part of what leaves me for hungry for outside validation in the hopes that others (including God) can see something that I can’t see in my reflection.
I still have much more pondering to do on this topic, but this poem describes my current state in considering this.
Mirrors, mirrors everywhere
Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Why must you show me all my flaws?
I searched in vain for better light
In hopes it would improve the sight,
But nothing changed night after night.
As I have aged, I’ve learned to weigh
My character over my face.
But people are a mirror too;
They show me where more work is due
To grow a character that’s true.
The rabbi spoke of God to me
And said that as I look to see
My God, I find a mirror there
Reflecting back my hopes and cares,
But then I spied my judge in there.
Mirrors, mirrors, on the wall
And in my heart and down the hall,
In people, times, and even books,
In choices made and chances took,
Mirrors everywhere I look.
And in them, all I clearly see
Are my flaws staring back at me.
I’m sure my strengths are in there too,
But somehow they just fade from view
And leaving me wanting more from You.
@2012 KJ Stanton
The comment the photographer makes about this photograph is rather thought-provoking (given my line on pondering) as well. It’s worth a click on the photo to read about how it was taken and why the image appears as it does.
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