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.James 1:25 NKJV
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.
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!