If I'm going to look into a mirror, I'm going to do it with someone who will sit next to me, who'll look with me, arm around my shoulder, unafraid of their own reflection. They may point at my flaws, but not without being willing to look at their own. Their head on my shoulder, or sometimes my head or theirs, arm in arm and looking together into our reflections.
This is a person who may point and say, "see that, it needs work," but if it hurts, I can be confident that it's a wound of a friend, someone who won't try to hide their own flaws, maybe even will say, "See, I have a little of that issue myself." Or at least be willing to acknowledge their own ugliness.
We all have ugliness. When we look into the Mirror, no one can escape it. Not just flaws and shortcomings, but ugliness, true grotesqueness even. The face of sin is there.
But what I won't do is look into a mirror with someone who stands behind it, unwilling to catch their own reflection, only looking to point out my flaws. Holding the mirror between us, pointing out everything they see, considering oneself the expert on what needs to be fixed on me. Standing, pointing, magnifying... And hiding.
Don't hurt yourself reaching over that mirror, patting me on the hand to say, "Wounds of a friend," because if you were my friend, you'd be sitting here next to me, real and exposed, not hiding behind the mirror.
What's even worse is when it isn't a mirror at all, but your own depiction of my likeness. You are not my mirror, and it's not your place to assume I'm not looking into the True Mirror. You don't really know, you've never truly sat here on this side of the mirror with me at all. You shouldn't speak of what you don't truly know, from your own opinions and distant observations. You certainly shouldn't consider yourself the expert.
I am willing to look in the mirror. I do it constantly, and I do see my flaws. But I also know they do not disqualify me. They do not define me. They are not who I am, even the mirror does not condemn me in them. I'm not afraid of the mirror, but I will not look into it with a judge. No, only with a participant am I willing to sit and take inventory.
I know I'm not the fairest of all.
But Your reflection does not condemn,
I know what I see is only dim.
Though what You show can be hard to see,
It isn't yet the complete reflection of me.
Thank you for those who'll come and stay,
And sit beside me night or day.
Side by side our reflections bare,
Arm in arm with friends who care.
We'll look together into the mirror,
Of what we'll find we will not fear.
For the flaws and scars will not remain,
So from despair I will refrain.
By Diana DePriest
© July 6, 2011