Intro to “The Warped Mirror”

Two things drive me nuts. Okay, there are a lot more than two, however these two are high on my list. The first is assuming certainty and the second is false piety.

The first is assuming that we can be more certain of things than we ought to be. Not that a sense of certainty is bad. For instance, I am certain that if I hold my laptop in the air and let go of it, that it will fall. I am also fairly certain that it wouldn’t work right afterwards, but who knows, maybe it will. I am less certain of the wisdom of trying that. If I was demonstrating a new ultra rugged laptop as part of a sales presentation, dropping the laptop might be precisely what I need to do. On the other hand, if I were freaking out over a spider running across my foot…hang on to the laptop. Better yet, leave it on the table. Ironically, even my certainty that letting go of the laptop would result in it accelerating rapidly towards the floor is it in itself, contextual. If by some weird chance I were spending the afternoon on the International Space Station, my laptop would merely float around the room…at least I think I am certain about that.

The second is the phony mask of super human perfection. It is another one of those “are you kidding me” character traits that entangles my feet like roots and vines in the rain forest, presenting me with plenty of opportunity to test the certainty of gravity.

One of my favourite verses in the bible says something like, “whoever says they don’t sin is a liar.” Friends (and those who are questioning whether or not they want to be my friend) we are human. Yes, we are fallible, messed up, confused, perplexed, perfrumped humans. True, I sort of made up the word perfrumped but I am almost certain that Mel Brooks used it once in a movie script. The sooner we realize how messed up we are, the sooner we can get on with life and maybe — I am sort of certain — we can offer each other the grace and mercy we all need. It seems to me that you can’t truly love someone for who they are if you are in denial of who you really are.

The problem as I see it, is that when we look in the mirror we want to see a Photoshopped image of ourselves. We are quite capable of doing just that, gullible people we are. For that matter there is a lot of self-help gurus who tell us to imagine the perfect us, the intergalactic hero out to save the universe from mediocrity. O what an awesome me that only I see!

I have a better idea, take a look at yourself in a warped mirror. You know, one of those ones that make you look fifty pounds overweight with a nose your friends can use as an umbrella. There are two wonderful benefits of seeing yourself that way. The first is that you will be pleasantly relieved to find out you aren’t all that bad and two, it will shatter that super hero image you have of yourself thereby allowing you realize that you aren’t half as good as the image you try to project. It’s called getting real.

For what it’s worth, I have a warped mirror in my art studio. I use it help see imperfections in my paintings. That might seem counter intuitive because surely it doesn’t reflect what is really there. Believe it or not, that is exactly why I like it. It shocks the system so that I look at the painting differently, so that what I see is what is, not what I think it is. We need to do the same thing for ourselves once in a while. We need to take a long hard look in a warped mirror to shock us into seeing who we really are in all our internal messiness, to see our own uncertainty and questions. Then and only then, can we truly confess our wayward ways and move toward being who we want to be.

Welcome to The Warped Mirror.

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