One day while reading in the living room of the retirement home where she lived, Mildred glimpsed a woman on the opposite side of the room. She thought about waving or saying good morning, but decided against making the effort because the woman didn’t look too friendly. As she studied the Bible in her lap, the thought came to her that no matter how unfriendly the stranger might look, she could behave in a loving manner.
Mildred prayed quietly to see the woman as God saw her–lovely and perfect. She smiled and nodded at the woman, and the woman smiled and nodded right back! That’s when Mildred realized she was looking in a mirror, and that grumpy – now smiling–woman was her own reflection!
When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Many of us see someone who isn’t as young as he or she used to be. We may wish we had darker hair, fewer wrinkles and not quite so much of a double chin! Maybe it is time to be like Mildred and look deeper than our outward appearance. The Bible offers this view: “…let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us” (Ps. 90:17). We can do this no matter our age.
Isn’t “the beauty of the Lord” the spiritual qualities of God that we inherit from Him/Her? Wouldn’t they include love, joy, unselfishness, courage, humility, and patience, among many, many others? When we feel loved by God, we naturally feel joyful and content. When we feel companioned by the Divine, it is natural to be courageous, patient and humble. How important then to know that God loves all of us, and is always with us, maintaining our identity as one of His dearly loved and adored children.
God is the true Creator of each of us –an all-powerful, ever-present divine Parent or unconditional Love. This Love is a divine Principle, unchanging and permanent. The understanding of this can regenerate, revitalize, and heal our lives, as we realize that we are so much more than a material body.
Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, wrote, “As the reflection of yourself appears in the mirror, so you, being spiritual, are the reflection of God. The substance, Life, intelligence, Truth, and Love, which constitute Deity, are reflected by His creation; and when we subordinate the false testimony of the corporeal senses to the facts of Science, we shall see this true likeness and reflection everywhere.”
In her Bible research and healing practice, Eddy found that no matter the physical picture – our human parents, the years we have lived, the experiences, disappointments and heartaches we may have had – these do not truly define who we are. Instead, we all share one divine Parent, we are His/Her spiritual reflection, and in His/Her eyes we are always beautiful, loved and strong. Far from ignoring the effects of aging, Eddy proved that this understanding can bring the healing balm of forgiveness, joy, and spiritual beauty that actually improves our health at any age.
My friend Kathleen loved this explanation that we are the reflection of God. I knew her in her upper 90’s. She studied her Bible and the writings of Mary Baker Eddy each day. She lived independently, climbed the flight of stairs to her church twice a week, and was extremely well and happy. Every day, many people called her to ask her to pray for them. I loved talking to her about her trust in God and her outlook on life. She credited her longevity and health to them. Kathleen was truly a beautiful person.
The “me” in the glass mirror may be someone who has seen many years, but the beauty that is not “skin deep” always has a divine glow about it. So what are you looking at? A body in a mirror? Or a spiritually-beautiful, intelligent, courageous reflection of God?
©2017 Christian Science Committee on Publication for Illinois