A mirror is something that shows a reflection, the intent is to help you see better. Like offering you the sight of smeared lipstick a cross your two front teeth before you walk into the next room to meet your blind date. Or the revelation that your white dress shirt has a stain in the middle of it before you walk out the door to give your first major project. Yet there are also mirrors that distort the image and make it more convoluted, say like the mirrors in a fun house or those in a dressing room. Either way there are really only two types of mirrors those that bring clarity to a image and those which distort and pervert the image.
People and relationships can function in a similar manner. In their best sense good relationships mirror back to us who we are in a honest and clarifying way. Sometimes we don't always like this reality because we are a people who like to hide. We "hide" our dark and shadow selves for fear of rejection or scorn or shame. And there in lays the beauty of healthy and good relationships, those who mirror our image back to us do this in a way that does not reject or scorn or shame, rather they offer a clearer view of who we are so that we may become our best selves. In a healthy engagement mirroring brings the freedom to be whole in ones understanding and vision of self. Those whom we are in relationship with offer critical vision because they can see the Imago Dei (image of God) for which we were created and bear even in our worst and most shabby condition.
One of the most striking elements of a dis-functional or unhealthy relationship is the presence of perverted and distorted mirroring. The criticism of this relational dynamic does not call forth freedom or the Imago Dei but instead crushes and seeks to possess and destroy the created image of that person.
Over the last day I was able to go back to Seattle and see friends. It was a great journey even though it was short. The sun was shining and it reminded me of all the beauty Seattle has to offer. Almost everyone I saw this weekend mirrored my present reality, happiness, back to me. While that may not seem like a hugely significant thing it was. For the last three years I lived in Seattle I was fought a pretty constant battle against fear, stress and anxiety...happiness felt like something that I would never be able to feel again. So for these dear friends who had watched that battle to bear a very different image of who I am was a little moment of delight. Their seeing helped to remind me of all the work I have been doing since moving down to Portland and how incredible it is that I am at peace even when things are not idea. My heart, mind and spirit are finally beginning to find rest and peace in the midst of chaos. I am able to find PEACE, this is huge.
Last week I had the chance to chat with my darling friend Annie who lives on the other side of the country. We were talking about my application and how things were going studying for the GRE. I was expressing to her my fears and anxiety around my gpa and the GRE score. To which she reminded me (mirroring) that my gpa was for GRADUATE level course and that I did complete all of them and am in possession of a Master's degree and that many of those who are applying for this program are undergraduates. She said something like "you have already proven that you can do this work". And for whatever reason Annie's words took root in my heart and brought a peace and a clarity of vision which I had lost sight of over these last few weeks. Her vision of who I was helped me to more clearly see and remove the distorted image I was letting get in my way.
In these ways I feel so blessed to have been offered better vision through my friends words and observation of who I am.