“Did you ever wonder if the person in the puddle is real, and you’re just a reflection of him?” ― Bill Watterson (author/artist of Calvin & Hobbes)
Sometimes I gaze at my reflection in the mirror, not a puddle, and wonder “who is that anyway?” I don’t spend much time primping and looking at my likeness because I’m a bare minimum person when it comes to makeup and hair. A little dab here, a touch of color on the cheeks, some gel or mousse worked into the hair to keep those curls bouncy – the ones that sprung up in middle age (where did they come from?) – and away I go.
But when I really peer into the looking glass, I almost don’t recognize myself. Where did that young girl with the straight, long hair parted in the middle and the thin freckled face disappear to? I still feel like her inside but the outside tells me she’s gone and this rounder, paler, older version has replaced her.
That’s what it’s like to reach middle age – this downslide to 60. One day you’re a teenager, the next the cashier at Ross Dress for Less is asking if you qualify for a senior citizen discount. One day you’re a frazzled, way too busy young mother with three tots in tow, the next you’re wandering around an empty nest house trying to decide whether you should clean today (not that it needs it) or just sit in your comfy chair in the family room and read that stack of library books waiting for you on the coffee table.
This transformation gives you pause. It sounds so cliché but really, how did all of those years zoom by so quickly? But mostly, at least I find it so, reaching this point in life offers you time for reflection and not just the kind you catch when you glance at a mirror.
Reflection. At my age, that word triggers my mind to recall lyrics to a song from the 60’s made popular by Diana Ross and The Supremes:
Through the mirror of my mind
Time after time,
I see reflections of you and me
Reflections of the way life used to be
It’s true, I do reflect often about the way life used to be. Maybe it’s just the realization that I’ve lived the majority of my life already that prompts this introspective mood. Maybe it’s just that empty nest thing. Maybe it’s just that since both my parents and my in-laws passed away, Papa and I are in the older generation now. Or maybe it’s just that I actually have the time, the solitude, and the quietness to reflect. Whatever it is, I find myself doing so often.
So when I received notification that this week’s photo challenge was reflection, I realized I had both the photos and the thoughts roaming around in my head to represent this word. Now before you think I’m going to turn all gloomy and morose longing for things of my past or whining about my present as an empty nester, let me assure you I’m not. But, I do think you have to reflect on what’s past in order to figure out where you want to go in the future.
Sometimes rainy days give me pause for reflection which is why I chose this photo of reflections on my deck one stormy day. But more often, I am just as reflective on sunny days which is why I published the picture above. For the most part, that photo represents my reflective moods – they are interesting, have different facets to them, and attract my attention.
I don’t think of the past with sadness; instead, I remember it with joy and anticipate the future in the same way. Life is entirely different for me now then it was when I was that idealistic, young girl dreaming of her future. But this life I’ve been given, all stages of it, has been fulfilling because my past, present, and future are linked to three aspects: faith, hope, and love.
For me, faith, hope, and love come from believing in and knowing a Savior. Because of that, I strive to reflect them in my actions, my speech, and my writing. Hopefully, it’s His reflection others see when they look at me.
And I attempt to inspire others to reflect on Him. When you look in your mirror of life, does faith hold you up no matter the circumstances? Does hope carry you through? Does love fill your heart?
What I’ve learned through my times of reflection is this: you may try to hold tightly to your past or only live in the present here and now, but one thing is certain. A future awaits. While none of us knows what the future may bring, I do know one thing – someday, I’ll see everything clearly without a mirror and I won’t need to pause in reflection.
“When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:11-13 New Living Translation (NLT)