Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall...


"Once upon a time... we were little girls. By day we read from our books of fairy tales, and by night we dreamed of the way our lives would turn out. On Sunday nights we parked in our pajamas two inches away from the television. Tinkerbell would fly out waving her wand and putting fairy dust on all the letters on the screen, signifying that magic was about to begin. The music would swell, and we would hold our breath with excitement as we watched our favorite stories unfold...

Cinderella arrived at the ball, and everyone recognized her as a true princess, and we just knew our day to go to the ball was coming...

Sleeping Beauty was sleeping beautifully, dreaming of her prince, and we dreamed of the day that our prince would come...

Snow White was singing as she got the dwarfs off to work, and we imagined humming a happy tune, getting our children off to school...

We dreamed of beautiful castles, knowing in our hearts that we would one day ride off in a white carriage and live happily ever after...

Do we ever wonder, What happened? Does it seem that somewhere among the prince, the kids, the laundry, and the carpool the fairy-tale company must have been bought out and is now bankrupt? Does it seem that life played a cruel trick on us? Most of us would openly acknowledge that what we ended up with is so very different than our dreams. It's not exactly like we really were Snow White or Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty. But please, shouldn't there be a few recognizable parallels?

This is where the voice of reason reminds us we can't compare our lives to theirs because they were fairy-tale women in very different times. Theirs would be totally different stories if they had to face what we do today. Walt's women wouldn't have it so easy if they had to make it in today's world.

Can't you just see Cinderella on the Stairmaster trying to keep those thighs firm? She's out of breath, talking on her cell phone: "I'll be there as soon as I can, Charming. I have to finish my workout and then stop by the grocery and pick up the flowers for the table. Will the carriage be arriving at six?"

What about Sleeping Beauty, propped up in bed on all her pillows, talking anxiously on the phone? "No, Mother, you didn't wake me. I can't sleep. No, I haven't heard from the prince yet, so don't ask me about it. Yes, I'm sure he's still coming."

Or Snow White, sitting in a tangle of computer wires, writing the Christmas letter? "Sleepy is in the second grade now and stays awake through fourth period. We're so proud of him. Grumpy is taking his Ritalin, and it's really helping him."

It would be interesting to watch each of them face some of our struggles and try to stay positive in our over-whelmingly negative world. Let them deal with the reality of the modern world. Too often we can't tell whether what we are doing matters, and our hopeful hearts grow weary and defeated. Nowadays when we watch those fairy tales with our kids or grandkids, we feel more like the wicked stepmother than the woman with the dreams. If we were to ask, "Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?" it would probably answer, "Stop asking me! It's not you, for crying out loud!""

That is an excerpt out of a torn book with a hole in it that I found several years ago in the basement of an out of the way place in Gatlinburg on a quick spur-of-the-moment all-by-myself stop in search for some long lost treasure that cost me a whole 97 cents to purchase (Keeping a Princess Heart in a Not-So-Fairy-Tale World). There are lots of things that I liked about the book, but it was that last line that I quoted that I hit me the funniest, "Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?" it would probably answer, "Stop asking me! It's not you, for crying out loud!"

What would your "mirror" say if you asked it?

I bet that you think that our "mirrors" don't talk. But may I suggest to you that they do? And that they have lots to tell you. It's just that too often we don't recognize our mirrors. We fail to see them as such, even while we're staring straight into our reflections that are staring back at us in them!

I read something in an email once that was only three sentences long. The first simply said that "People are mirrors for each other." Because through them and the things that they do, how we react to what they've done or what they've said to us reflects ourselves.

The last sentence said that, "This is G-d's great kindness to us, for without this device we would never be able to determine our true faults."

Though I'd not thought about it before, I totally agree what the writer was saying. I've thought about it a lot since I read it. A whole lot. Because if you watch your reaction to others or how you respond to things that happen around you, my goodness, it does seem as if a mirror. Not that you reflect each other and look the same as the other person does.., but that it helps you better to see yourself. And a self that you wouldn't have seen or noticed before otherwise.

I was at the office last week and my sister (Beth), actually only kidding around, was talking about another girl (Tara) that works there. Tara's office is sandwiched between mine and Beth's. So Beth is hollering from hers to mine knowing that Tara is listening. I can't remember what she said now, but she was "telling on" Tara so to speak.. talking ugly about her in a kidding way. So I hollered back to Beth, "Yeah, but I just read the other day that people are like mirrors to us. And how we react to them reflects who we are." Then I asked her, "So after what you've just said, what does that mean you're reflecting?" For she (had she truly been serious) had been painting Tara as ugly, but in doing so had painted herself even uglier.

We all laughed. It was all in fun. Just joking and kidding around. Tara then hollered something back to me to the effect of, "Thanks for taking up for me, Sharon. Your sister can be really mean about...." And of course, when she finished (and me still loving this thought that I'd recently fallen upon) said back to her, "Ut-oh Tara, now what is your mirror reflecting?" For everybody's mirror was proving to show themselves ugly.

We did it all day long. It was such fun! But it also made a point to all of us and it impacted the truth of it to me even more than I'd been impacted with it before. It made me want to watch myself even closer to see me (and sometimes the rather UGLY me) in my mirrored reflectors so that I could work on things that needed some working.

It's helped me to look at things a whole lot differently. I think that it's not only helped me not to be as ugly or as mean as my first reaction sometime wants to be, but it's also defused the ugly feeling. It's help me to look at myself, rather than pointing my finger at the one that's hurt me. It's turned my focus back onto myself and onto my own weaknesses instead of focusing in on theirs. And when you do that, you even see the person that's hurt you in a whole new light. It gives you (me anyway!) a grieving heart toward my own sinful flesh nature and then it also surprisingly gives me a compassion for the one being ugly and a sincere want and need to pray for the one I that normally would have been angered toward or ugly to or offended with.

We're told not to return evil with evil (1 Peter 3:9)... [and when we do, we're reflecting ourselves to prove just as evil as they are. Our wrong, because of their wrong, doesn't make our wrong any righter!]. We're not to return insult with insult (1 Peter 3:9). We've been "called" to bless those that curse us (1 Peter 3:9 / Luke 6:27-49). To do good to those that persecute us, and to those that despitefully use us (Luke 6:27-49). To turn the other cheek (Luke 6:27-49). To love our enemies (Matt 5:44). We're reminded that if we love only those that love us, what credit is that to us, even sinners do that (Luke 6:27-49)? We're told to pray for those that mistreat you (Luke 6:27-49). If someone takes your cloak don't stop him, give him your tunic also (Luke 6:27-49). If someone takes something from you, don't demand it back (Luke 6:27-49). We're told not to judge (Luke 6:27-49). And to forgive.. as we've been forgiven (Luke 6:27-49).

We're asked why do we look at the mote in our brother's eye and ignore the plank in our own (Luke 6:27-49)? We're told that we are recognized by our fruit (Luke 6:27-49). And right after being told that Jesus asks us, "Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and don't do what I say?" (Luke 6:27-49). He says that if you don't love your brother, then you don't love Him (1 John 4:20). And He tells us that trials prove ourselves to be "genuine"... or not (1 Peter 1:6,7)............. So, what are your trials "proving"? What are your tests showing? What do you see in your mirror from your reactions? What are your reactions reflecting?

Seriously, let something aggravating, hurtful, or frustrating happen to you and watch (in yourself) who you see looking back at you then. Let someone insult you and watch how you handle it. When someone smacks you, says something bad about you, mistreats your children, says something about them, tempts you or taunts you... when these kinds of things happen, watch what inside you that comes and shows out. Notice what they cause to reflect of the inside of your heart, and at times you'll be appalled at what you're seeing!

I was telling a friend (Michele) about all of this the other day and she wrote me back, "...wouldnt it be so cool to be the kind of person that when you look in the mirror you see Jesus staring back..after all isn't He supposed to live inside of us.."

To which I replied, "AMEN! It's what I strive for. IF only I could MOVE this ME over and let HIM IN completely! I wish.... truly do desire, to be a skin that encases only HIM! It's not always so easy though. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is so weak!"

We might all want to ask ourselves the question as we stop to take a peek, "Mirror, Mirror on the wall......"

I'm just asking from your reactions... What's reflecting back to you in the mirror in which you're looking?

I had posted my thinking about this on another blog site, and a very kind gentleman left such a profound thought that I felt this blog incomplete without also posting it here to share it. He said,

"I felt that I should point out that before these fairy-tale Princesses BECAME Princesses their lives were not very nice, to say the least. Well, Pricess Aurora was always a princess, but being sent to your room for several years can't be too pleasant. I mean washing up after interloping step-sisters, poison apples, Having the Queen put a hit out on you...these are hardly the stuff of a "fairy tale" existence."

To which I replied, "PROFOUND THINKING, Mr. Stephen!!! Yes, you are so incredibly right! And though we're talking "princess" here, for a minute let's also relate it to two "princes" of which we've been told of in Scripture. For we have to remember Joseph being in his pit, then his Potiphar's wife's testing of fire, then his prison, before he was put in his palace!   And what about King David? Woe, the thrashing and throes of the king's tantrums that he had to dodge and to run from for YEARS AFTER he'd been anointed king! I suppose we can conclude from these two examples that: to make royalty the world first has to beat the world out of you so that nothing is left but Divine?

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall"???   Sure. It's a smart thing to take notice of. And may we be ever so careful to listen to what they tell us when they talk!


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