This mirror hung in my room during my childhood and teenage years. I spent a lot of time looking in it over the years, then and since when I visit my parents' home. Sometimes doing the "mirror, mirror, on the wall...." thing and many times doing the "look at this flaw, and that one, and here is another one" thing. It's one of those "good mirrors" - not cracked, doesn't seem to distort one's image.

Self-examination is hard. True self-examination, I mean. Some of us tend more toward the "mirror, mirror, who is the fairest and of course you mean me" outlook while others find nothing but fault and flaws. Some of us look into mirrors that are cracked with our psychological stuff and thus we simply cannot see ourselves as we are, much less as we are created to be.

Self-examination takes courage. It is daunting to even attempt to look at oneself with clear eyes and be willing to see both assets and flaws, potential and failure, things done well and things incomplete and things rushed through to a slap-dash conclusion and things mangled slightly or horribly, with or without good intentions.

Many of us secretly feel that we are being sized up by God every day and at all times. As if there were a celestial camera trained solely on us to catch every misstep (and even each success, although we don't worry about that quite as much). That we are being examined and judged constantly, with our "worthiness" meter wavering above and below the acceptable line all day, every day; we hope that when the end comes, we'll be in the black rather than in the red.

Even if we have delusions about ourselves when we look in the mirror, I think that God has no such delusions. God sees us with the eyes of love, with the eyes of the beloved; God sees us as we are unable to see ourselves, as worthy and made whole through love.


Kathy Kelly said…
Thanks for this. It reminds me of how we are either too glowing or too critical of each other too. I've been trying to develop a new practice in honor of the lovely BCP phrase "the dignity of every human being" in which I look for Christ in each person I encounter. It is very difficult. But, if you work at it you can begin to get better at it. I find that when my work at this gets better I see the child in each person. As I look for Christ, for that thing in a stranger or a friend that is the core of what God loves, I can see what that person might have looked like in a state of free, uninhibited and playful childhood.
True - we are as likely to demonize or idealize others as well as ourselves - perhaps even more so. I guess they can go hand in hand. It does take work to get beyond judgmentalism of any kind.