A few years ago I experienced a series of shocks as I looked in the mirror. The first shock was after the initial bandages were removed and I was quite literally faced with a swollen disfigured stitch filled visage. This ogre surely was not me? Weeks later some of the swelling went down and my jaw was unwired and I for the first time in weeks I could brush my teeth. Once again I stood in front of the mirror and watched as my teeth which had been shattered in my fall began to tumble into the sink! A horrid maw gaped back at me in the mirror. I wanted to turn out the light and hide my head. I left the mirror and called the dentist’s office and months of dental surgery began. After a few months more the swelling receded to the point where I thought I could finally shave off my scraggly gray beard. I have been clean shaven most of my life and I was looking forward to returning to that state again. It meant a return to normalcy to me. With oh so careful strokes the whiskers were whisked and once again the mirror revealed a shocking image. An ugly scar slashed from the corner of my lip circling around my chin and ending at the point of my jaw. All hope of a return to normalcy seemed to circle the drain with those whiskers! I had become obsessed with the mirror! The revulsion I felt was the flip side of narcissism. We live in a narcissistic society. I am not alone in this failing.
During this time I learned a valuable lesson. My life is not enhanced at all by gazing in the mirror. Whether I am admiring or judging my looks does nothing to fulfill me. I needed to repent of my obsession with the mirror. I was not created to preen in a mirror. I was created to be a mirror!
I am created in God’s image and rather than look for my reflection I am made to be his reflection. The moon does not emit light. It is beautiful when it reflects a light not of its own creation. My preoccupation with my looks or lack of them was sin! Rather than to preen I am better to polish. My energy is best used in polish the mirror, which is my life, so that it reflects my creator.
After a few years of regular visits to the dentist, and I admit to an irrational fear of dentists and dentistry, I was able to smile again. My scar looks less raw and scary but it remains. All these years later I can smile again. My face bears the marks of my fall but the worst days are long gone.
The long hard work of polishing my mirror to reflect Him continues. Now I look in the mirror and see my drooping lip and scar and it serves to remind me to reflect Jesus. Sometimes as I walk in the community I catch a glimpse of my reflection and I remember that I am a reflection on Christ, a reflection of Christ to the world. This often causes me to repent for my woeful inadequacy but it also strengthens my commitment to my creator as one made in his image!