Seeing Who You Really Are

I found the courage today to look at myself closely in the mirror.  It took more than I thought. 

I didn't try to put on my favorite glasses, and turn my head to the angle I'm convinced makes me look cool.  Instead, I squinted hard and faced the reality of my growing wrinkles, the blemishes and deepening furrows in my brow. 

My face is nearly fifty-years-old and doesn't really resemble the one that used to peer back at me when I stared into the mirror half my life ago. 

I forced a smile at myself to see if there was someone I could recognize in there somewhere.  And it was there in the midst of my smile lines and old-man, stray, grey hairs that I saw him. 

Mind you, it was just a twinkle, but he was there.  I saw him plain as day:  The bright-eyed, young man filled with defiant, unbridled hope... The passionate firebrand ready to charge Hell with a squirt gun.  He is in there still. 

The sixteenth-century Christian mystic, St. John of the Cross wrote the following poem that I read this morning:
When you regarded me
Your eyes imprinted your grace in me,
In this, you loved me again,
And thus my eyes merited
To also love what you see in me...
Let us go forth together to see ourselves in Your beauty.  
I believe far too many of us expend all of our energy trying to cover up our brokenness, incompleteness, fears, doubts, and anxieties.  We do our best to show ourselves at our best angle, hoping that whatever image we're projecting is cooler, more put together than we feel. 

But in the rare moments when we take the time to look hard into the mirrors of our own souls, we can begin to see the toll that expenditure of energy has exacted upon us.  It's hard at first glance to recognize ourselves in those hard, truthful moments.

However, when we choose to see through the lens of God's great and grace-filled love, we are finally able to see ourselves as we truly are.  We can then begin to truly love what we see because who we are seeing is the person God dreams for us to be. 

Beloved, in the words of John of the Cross, "Let us go forth together to see ourselves" as God sees us and loves us.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 

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