Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? –  the Queen in Grimm’s Snow White

When I was a kid, there was a large mirror over the sofa in our living room.  My father never walked by that mirror without checking out his reflection … puffing out his chest and strutting just a bit.   As an adolescent, I had a very different relationship with that mirror.   I was scrawny and short with car-door ears and a long, British nose that pointed slightly to the right.   Every Monday at school, I’d hear about the parties some of the girls were having on Friday nights, parties where they’d dance and play spin-the-bottle. but I was never invited.   I thought it was because I was ugly.   I remember standing in front of my father’s mirror on evening and saying God, you can take all of my brains if you’ll just make me handsome.  Thank God, God didn’t.   Now, I’m sixty-five, my face has character, and I’m still brilliant.

My wife and I were talking the other day about how often people complain about faults in others that are glaring in themselves.    While I learned at a very early age that the way to see how I look on the outside is to look in a mirror, few of us are taught that the people we encounter as we go about our busy lives, especially those that we love to criticize, are mirrors of our own insides.   The more frequently I find some loathsome trait in others … or the more vehemently I react to some character flaw … the more likely it is that same trait needs to be addressed in my own personality.   It’s SO much easier to see my own flaws in others.   And others may also mirror internal issues I haven’t dealt with or emotions I’ve suppressed.     They say that When the student is ready, the teacher appears.    Most of the time, the teacher isn’t Obi-Wan Kenobe in sackcloth robes.    There’s no flash of inspiration or writing on the wall or burning bush.    It’s up to me to identify my teachers and determine their lesson for me.    Fortunately, as my friend Don says, We can learn something from everybody … some teach us what to do and others, what not to do.

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One Comment on “Mirrors”

  1. pioneerjo Says:

    It is so true, isn’t how we can be such experts at fixing the flaws in others, the same flaws we would be tripping over if we looked down from our soapboxes for a moment…! 🙂

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