Mirror, Mirror on the wall

Who’s the fairest of them all? Disney’s rendition of Snow White has the most ominous tone for these words. In my childhood, I always wondered why she had to ask the mirror. Couldn’t she tell for herself? She was the queen, couldn’t she have organized a beauty pageant like King Xerxes did…but I guess fairy tales are just that, fairy tales. More questions than answers.

How does one then tell the fairest? Is there a world standard on beauty? Is beauty only skin deep? Are we just bodies? No, of course we aren’t. This is exactly why you dear reader are able to read this blog. You are spirit, you possess a soul and you live in a body. You desire more than skin deep interactions. You are more than just dermis and sweat excretion.

Appearance is the seed for perception. As we grow older, we become experts at wearing masks. It might be your make up routine and your desire to conceal every single flaw on your face. It may be the bold and assertive spring in your walk. We go at it from morning to evening, how do I look? Mirrors are such an important part of our routine, a typical car has three. Mine has five. I have a close up mirror in the sun visor that lights up so I can detect the pores in my face. There is no excuse to appear unkempt and not altogether. You just look in the mirror, and make sure what you see is how you want to be perceived.

But the body is only a third of me. How often have you been dressed to the nines but feel so unprepared for that presentation? Everyone thinks you have it under control. (Remember perception) While you are literally looking for exits from the room and hoping the ground shall swallow you. Let’s talk about loss or failure. One fine day, I stumbled on a slightly higher tile, because whereas my eyes saw all these tiles as even from a distance, my feet did not. And there I was flat on the ground in this grand shopping mall. Luckily, no one knew me. I quickly got up and checked myself. No broken bones, no ripped jeans, just a bit of grazing on the knee…not sure how that happened and left the jeans intact. I looked for the nearest public bathroom- washed my hands. Looked at myself in the mirror and off I went. Of course more carefully. I mean these tiles are deceptive. All the while wondering why I fell? No one in that mall knew what questions were running through my mind? As I tried out shoes? Inspected clothes? Checked out price tags?

I paused for a moment to think about the other shoppers. What was going on with them? What silent battles were they facing? What were they celebrating? I could only attempt to read their faces and their gaits but there is no mirror for the soul. The bathroom did not have a mirror for me to check my own composure. How was I dealing with this fall? In Gayaza High School, it was complete and utter digiloss to fall down. It is easy to brush it aside because no one really sees what you feel. But does it make it unimportant?

Babies it turns out do not recognize themselves in the mirror till they are 18 months. Philippe Rocat’s five stages reveal that our self awareness which is our consciousness of who we are develops with time. Level 3 is where the babies can tell that the image in the mirror is them. It is also when they recognize that they are distinct from their environment but can be connected through language. So their ability to communicate develops rapidly from this point on. What a shock! Looking at babies giggling in mirrors, one would think they are aware of themselves. No, apparently that is someone. They don’t know who, just it is someone.

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.
But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

James 1:25 NKJV

I thank God for James, one of the patriarchs who writes these beautiful words in this letter to the twelve tribes of Israel scattered abroad. The perfect law of liberty! I can forget like the evil queen who I am when I rely on a mirror. But not when I look at the perfect law of liberty.

The perfect law of liberty is the Love of God as written in His Word. God is love and His perfect love frees me from fear.Fear of being. Fear of not being. Fear of death. It reveals to me who I am. This mirror covers my flaws and reveals my perfection. I am liberated. It is the only mirror that can do this. This mirror is Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. The Word that became flesh and dwelt amongst us.

Jesus is the fairest of them all. When I look at Him and do what He does, I am changed to look like Him. Liberté ! Viva! Viva! Viva!

Young adult, before you leave home,

Take care that you have learnt to work. But isn’t that the same thing as earning money. No, it isn’t. Work is work. Earning money is earning money.

Work according to Physicists has to do with force and motion. Yes, there must be energy in this thing and something has to change. You may imagine that just because the chair cushion deflates when you sit on it, you have worked. Not at all, my friend, the cushion has worked. You just sat there.

Work is repititive. It is usually a progression of many small tasks. Let’s take washing dishes as an example. You need to remove the dishes from the table to the sink or the general area where the washing shall be done. You clear any food remains. You get the soap and sponge, lather and begin to wash. Some pots and pans require extra energy to get the food remains out. Rinse and hang to dry. After drying, they have to be put away. You repeat this sometimes three to four times a day.

Work is responsibility. If it can be done by anyone, then it is not work. If someone has to take it up and be seen to do it, then it is work. For example, anyone can dive into a pool and swim (caution: if you have not learned to swim, this category might exclude you, cause you will not swim but rather flail), but only a lifeguard can save a swimmer in distress. So the lifeguard is working while you are swimming.

Photo courtesy: Pinterest

Work is not rosy. Yes, most of us have this grand ideas about getting a job. We shall simply be conveyed in very clean elevators to our pristine offices and type one word on a keyboard with neatly manicured nails…and it shall be 5pm. Welcome to the Bubbles bursting session! So it starts with waking up early, and this starts with getting to bed early. This means denying yourself a whole night of binging on series. It means setting alarms. It means having the clean and near clothes to wear. It means managing time. You must beat the traffic to be at work at 8am. Even if you work from home, you must beat so many pleasant thoughts of breakfast in bed to start when you said you would.

Work is a requirement. God worked. God is working. In Genesis 1, we see God at work creating our environment. He gave Adam the Garden of Eden to tend. Tending is fruitfulness and multiplication. The requirement was that Adam would multiply Eden all over the earth.

Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.

Genesis 2:15 NKJV

Work is a resolution. Adam was not designed to keep the garden small and maintain his 50 by 100ft plot with his small family of two children. No, Adam was built for subduing and dominion. Imagine that we are now 8bn people in the entire world, from the one man Adam. That capacity is in you as well. You are not here to pass Mathematics with an A*, you are here to extend the Kingdom of God. Jesus said that His Father was working, the tense is present continuous. There is no day or night if the earth is not rotating round the sun. God is working. You should be too. The whole of creation is working, atoms with their protons and neutrons are in constant motion. Birds are forever flying. Trees are growing. Babies are growing. Everything is designed to grow. You must resolve to grow by working.

Work is rewarding. Going back to the Physics definition, you do something that causes something to be set in motion that brings a new result. I start out with raw matooke and end with hot, steaming yellow and tasty delicacy. I start out with a grimy floor and end with a sparkly, smooth feeling floor. I start with very few people interested in opening accounts and end with a greater percentage transacting their businesses through my bank.

By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

John 15:8 NKJV

Young adult, before you leave home, take care that you have learned to work and to value work.