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A Dream without Mirrors

Craig Mitchell

I had a dream. My dream started on a school day. I staggered out of bed, late as usual after snoozing through the alarm. Turning toward the dresser, I fumbled for the hairbrush and forced my eyelids to open. I stopped, bewildered. My mirror had disappeared! I lurched down the hallway to the bathroom. No mirror there either!

Puzzled by this turn of events, I showered and dressed for school. Makeup was guess-work, hairstyling a hurried hunch. Leaping downstairs with my school bag, I confronted the rest of the family over breakfast.

“Sis, you look terrible!” my younger brother remarked.

Ignoring him, I turned to my parents. “Where are the mirrors? How am I supposed to know how I look?”

“You look fine, dear,” responded Dad.

“Gorgeous as always,” remarked Mom from behind her newspaper.

 

Stares and Giggles

Stepping onto the school bus, I felt even more self-conscious. Were people staring at me? Two girls were giggling. Was it my hair? my face? I looked down at my clothes, which seemed fine. The window refused to offer any reflection that might help my predicament.

For the rest of the day, I was a nervous wreck. Every glance, frown, or laugh seemed directed at my appearance; and I had no way of checking to see what was wrong. Even my friends seemed to give me odd looks, as if something about me was not quite right. Or they smiled as if everything was OK, which, of course, it wasn’t.

I sat alone on the bus ride home, feeling hurt and rejected although no one had actually said anything unkind. Later, in my room, I became rather teary. I realized that lacking any kind of mirror, I had turned other people into mirrors. I had looked to them to see what I was like. Their reactions determined my view of myself. Yet because they had all responded differently, I didn’t know whose opinion to trust. I was a quivering mess of emotions.

 

True Reflections

In desperation, I prayed, “Lord, what’s going on? How can I live without seeing myself?”

I was silent; and to my surprise, God answered. “A mirror can only show you the outside. If you want to see yourself, look inside.”

With nowhere else to turn, I looked in. I reflected on who I really was, on my hopes, fears, successes, failures, dreams, desires, beliefs, and doubts. I remembered that I was me and not a reflection of other people’s reactions or a projection of their expectations. Looking inside, I saw that I was me—not perfect, but OK.

And God said, “Let me be the one to remind you who you are; you are my beloved, and I am pleased with you.”

Again, in silence, I let God’s words sink into my soul. I realized that God as my mirror shows me who I truly am and who I might become.

Then God said the words that surprised me most: “You, my child, are my mirror. When I look at you, I see a reflection of myself. You are made in my image, and I delight in seeing my likeness in you.”

I awoke from my dream. My mirror was on my dresser, but it had lost its power over my emotions. My spirit was filled with a sense that my life was a mirror, a reflection of God to the world.

 

Dig Deeper

Read Genesis 1:26–28 and Psalm 8. In Genesis 1:26 (NRSV), God says, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness.” Theologian Geoffrey Wainwright says that being made in God’s image means that we are created for relationship with God. As God nurtures our relationship, we begin to take on God’s likeness. In the coming week, look for the image of God in other people. Look for reflections of the holy in their lives.

Craig Mitchell is from Adelaide, Australia.

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