Ed, my neighbor next door, received an Easter greeting he greatly resented this year. His relatives from Edmonton spent Easter here in Melville with him and Ruby. A nephew let slip that Ed sure had become a lot balder and that crows’ feet were growing all around the corners of his eyes. Of course, Ed argued that he had as much hair as ever and no more wrinkles than the last time they saw each other.
Boy was Ed disgusted with me when I agreed with his nephew’s observation! I went way too far when I suggested he look in a mirror with his ball cap off. “A mirror doesn’t lie,” I thoughtlessly blurted out. It was one of those times I should have bitten my tongue rather than let it flap around in the wind of my inconsiderate words.
The tongue sure has the power to give joy or hurt to a friend. Likewise, a mirror is a reliable way of seeing the truth about ourselves, if we will accept what we see there and not go away and forget what we saw in the mirror.
Since Ed stopped talking to me, I could not tell him that many of us have gone through the trauma of the mirror. Being about a decade older than Ed, I have passed the denial phase and watched the face of aging with sprouting humility. For some of us, balding is a specialty and wrinkles spread like dandelions every year. At fifty-five, we are still looking for the reflection of a forty-five year old in the mirror and at sixty-seven we hope we can see the mirror without our glasses.
The truth often hurts us. There will always be a remedy for the truth, but we may see the remedy as more painful than the problem. Will Ed go to the expense of a hair transplant or a face lift to erase wrinkles? Not in this life time or ever! Anything that costs money that isn’t a necessity isn’t going to happen in Ed’s life. Remedies that are expensive or cause pain are not popular for many of us. For Ed, the remedy for wrinkles is not looking in the mirror and wearing either a baseball cap or a cowboy hat to hide his baldness. This only proves that homemade remedies often satisfy us best.
The Bible warns us not to deceive ourselves. As a mirror can keep us facing the truth about ourselves, God’s word can bless us if we not only hear it, but do as it says. “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs what good is it? Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”
We are called not to love with words only, but with actions and in truth also. “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother. He is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.”