What do I see when I look in the mirror? Well, first and foremost, I see myself. No surprise there! But as I begin to take a closer look, other things become more prominently visible. The first thing I see is more years than such a youthful complexion would seem to suggest. I see eyes that have seen too much sadness, lips that have whispered more than their fair share of prayers, and ears that have heard too many messages of bad news. Those are just the first impressions. I look closer, and more begins to emerge. I see hope behind those tired eyes, and a refreshed perspective on life. Behind the sadness, I see rays of positivity bursting out. Sometimes one masks the other.
I try to look at myself through another person’s eyes - but that’s not hard, because when I look in the mirror, I don’t just see myself through my own lense, but through the viewpoints of every other person in my life. Every emotion they feel, I feel. I sense the doubting, the disbelief, and the cynicism of others. The very next second though, I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of encouragement, faith, and investment of others in my life - something I am truly blessed to have. The doubters motivate me and the encouragers sustain me. I wouldn’t trade either group of people for anything, as they both have been integral in charting the trajectory my life is currently taking.
I see a crystal-clear past and a cloudy future. Sometimes I wish I could reverse the adjectives on those two. Ironically, the very last thing I recognize are the physical attributes. Looks aren’t important, but they remind me of where I come from. I see the facial features of my dad, and am reminded of what a great role model I have for a father. The last thing I notice is my mom’s smile. It hurts me to realize that I will never see this smile outside of this mirror and the occasional photo album - but then I am encouraged by the fact that this means she’s not totally gone, and that I will always have the opportunity to further her legacy. In some ways she is still with me (and within me), and that gives me the energy to keep going.
In the mirror, I’ve found myself. I am an amalgam of people, places, and experiences both good and bad - all of which have made me who I am, and will continue to define my future in ways yet to be seen. Then my brain resets, and I look at my reflection with a renewed sense of clarity. Internal reflection is important, but today I’ve found that reflection in the literal sense can be even more revealing.
The mirror clears, and my mind follows suit.