So my 5-year old niece broke my mirror last weekend.
It all began when we got back from church and she asked for scrambled eggs. Now there is nothing more frustrating than trying to scramble eggs while a 5-year old stands beside you asking to help with things that will only prolong the scrambling process. So while I had already told her not to play with my stability ball (which she finds hilarious), frankly anything that kept her out of the way so I could cook was acceptable… for the moment.
So there I was, multitasking between cooking these eggs and talking to her mom on the phone when I heard the crash. I immediately ran to my room to see her standing in my doorway with the red stability ball, tears welling up in her eyes, and my beautiful mirror lying on the floor beside her with a crack running straight through it.
I’ll fast-forward over checking to make sure she was OK, scolding her, then comforting her, because my bomb mothering skills really aren’t the point of this story. No, this story is really about my mirror.
A couple hours later, after her dad picked her up, I stared at the crack for a good 15 minutes, upset.
“Now I’m going to have to buy a new mirror.” I thought. I had just bought this one 2 months ago. And I loved it. It elongated and slimmed in all the right places, and I knew exactly where I planned to hang it in my room even though I hadn’t gotten around to it yet – a place where the sun hit perfectly and made it conducive to mirror selfies lol. Now every time I looked into what had been my favorite mirror, all I saw was an imperfect reflection staring back.
I ended up telling a friend later in the week about my broken mirror and how frustrated I was about having to fork out cash for a new one. He asked to see it and I showed it to him. He laughed.
“That’s just a crack Eudora. I thought you meant she had shattered it. It’s still perfectly good.”
“Nooo…. it’s no good anymore.” I complained.
“Can you still see yourself in it?” He asked. I nodded, annoyed at the question with such an obvious answer. “Then it’s still good.”
And while I rolled my eyes at the moment at his inability to understand the necessity for a perfect image in the morning, as I continued to think about my mirror, a thought began to formulate in my mind:
My mirror wasn’t actually broken. It was only cracked. And yet a cracked mirror had the ability to make me completely disheveled because the reflection I saw in the mirror meant more to me than the fact that the person who stood behind it was still in perfect shape.
Let me put it this way: When I looked in that mirror, all I saw was imperfection, a cracked image. I couldn’t have that – I needed the way I saw myself to be perfect. But here a single crack had completely thrown me off because it changed the way I perceived myself, and the way I perceived myself was derived solely from that image. The reason why that image was so important to me was because it was the only way I could see myself – it was my only perspective – and at that moment all I could see of myself was a distorted image. And yet, the funny thing is that the person behind the mirror had actually not changed. I, Eudora, had in fact not been altered by the crack in my reflection. But the perfect image of myself I needed to see in that mirror held more power in how I viewed myself than my understanding that that image would never accurately reflect who I was behind it.
How had I gotten so stressed out by a single crack? How had I given it so much power that because of it, my reflection was suddenly not good enough and my mirror was trash?
And so I started to think about the cracks in my life, and the warped images of myself they had created for me. The failures. The hurts. The abuse. The insecurity. The heartache. The fears. How much had I obsessed over them, as though they somehow marred the perfection of God’s creation? As though who God created me to be was suddenly and violently altered because someone was careless with me or I was careless with myself?
I decided last night that I’m keeping my cracked mirror. Because it’s a constant reminder to me that my cracks do not define me. Cracks do not make me useless. Cracks do not mean I am broken and good for nothing. Cracks do not change who God says I am or discredit me from what He created me to do. God doesn’t suddenly throw us out because we have a scratch here or a tear there. All He sees when He looks at us is the perfection of His creation. And if God sees perfection when He looks at me, then I can look past the cracks in my reflection and love the me He sees too.
I am keeping my cracked mirror, because it reminds me not to trust in the broken reflections of myself I see or others see. It reminds me that even though the way I see myself is a little cracked sometimes, I still reflect a beautiful image. What is behind the mirror is still beautiful. I was made in the perfect image of God, and His is the only perspective and reflection I truly need.