There are lots of posters on billboards at the moment with the heading ‘Mirror Mirror’ promoting a forthcoming film release. Presumably this relates in some way to the fairy tale ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, the wicked queen has a magic mirror that always tells the truth. All is well while she looks into the mirror and is told that she is ‘the fairest one of all’. But a day dawns when this is no longer the case and the mirror says her stepdaughter, Snow White, now has a beauty that surpasses her own. Overcome with jealousy, the witch seeks to kill her rival so she can be restored to the top of the world’s most fair. Although thwarted by the dwarves Snow White finds refuge with, she succumbs to the queen’s evil spell sufficiently to fall into a death-like slumber. This can only be broken by the kiss of a handsome prince. As luck would have it one happens to be passing! She regains consciousness and they all live happily ever after.
I wonder what it would be like to have a mirror that always told the truth when you looked into it. Yesterday we meditated on a reading from ‘Anam Cara Friendship’ by John O’Donohue. In it were these words, “…it’s utterly fascinating to me that no human person ever sees their own face. We look in mirrors and we have images, but we never see our own faces…A friend is a true mirror in which we begin to get some little glimpse of who we are.” This is a beautiful picture and the closest we experience of a mirror like the one in ‘Snow White’. However, it has also got me thinking of the relationships and experiences that distort the image we have of ourselves. The negative comments we have had from parents and teachers, the rejection of friends and lovers, even the narrow theology we have been taught by leaders in the church. Maybe the mirrors we look in are more like those at the end of the pier. They make us look short and wide or stretched into pole. They certainly don’t reveal to us the person we truly are, a beautiful and unique creation of a good, loving and relational God.
So how do we replace the distorted reflection of ourselves with the truth that real, healthy and loving friendships hold up to us? In part, as I explored in my last post, it is about overcoming shame, embracing vulnerability and choosing to believe the best of who we are. Easier said than done! For us to receive the healing necessary to do this, we need to know how worthy we are to be loved. This comes from God, because God is love. The bible tells us that we are the apple of His eye. I have never really understood what this means. I learnt at the weekend it is the vision we see of ourselves reflected in the eye of the beholder. As we look on the face of God and into His eyes, we see ourselves reflected back. Positive human relationships are vital and life-enhancing but, I believe, can only be fully enjoyed once we have gazed upon our Creator and seen our image perfected in His sight. And how does this happen? Well, I guess, like all other relationships, with one risk at a time! Unlike other relationships though, we are promised unwavering love and eternal devotion in return. This is an ‘Anam Cara’, or soul friendship, worth giving life, heart and everything to.