May 13, 2015

A Cracked Mirror for Mom — and for God

, public relations and editorial assistant, South Pacific Adventist Record

It didn’t look like much.

It was just a pink plastic pocket mirror with a Hello Kitty design. It was obviously used, slightly cracked and even a little dusty.

But it caught my attention nevertheless, mainly because it was the only object on display I thought I could afford.

“You like that mirror, sweetheart?” He was an old man with graying hair and kind eyes. He smiled as I nodded eagerly.

“It’s yours for five dollars.”

I hesitated. The coins in my pocket had seemed like a monumental fortune that morning. I had been so excited, thinking about all the wonderful gifts I would be able to buy. But I was quickly disillusioned. The blue vase I liked was $35. The pretty floral dish I’d inspected had been $20. Now even this pocket mirror seemed beyond my reach.

Seeing my face fall, the old man asked gently, “How much money do you have?”

I brought out my treasured coins and held them out sheepishly. They were all I had.

His eyes glimmered with understanding. “In that case I’ll make you a deal.”

It was the first Mother’s Day present I had ever bought. It had taken all my money to buy that gift but I couldn’t wait to give it to my mom.

Since then, I’ve given her many other gifts — from flowers to furniture and massages to mattresses. But none of them have ever received quite the same level of appreciation as that used, cracked mirror.

She took that mirror wherever she went, whether it was to work, church, or even out grocery shopping. I recently asked her if she still had it, and she assured me that she did. I asked her why.

“That mirror is precious to me,” she said simply. “I can still see the excitement on your face as you raced in, hands behind your back, and said you had a gift for me. Whenever I see that mirror I see my daughter’s love.”

Mirrors are interesting objects. Without their capability to reflect images they would merely be plastic or wooden frames. Their purpose and value do not lie within themselves but in what they reflect.

Genesis 1 tells us that we were made in God’s image. Our purpose is to be mirrors by reflecting God’s image to the world.

On our own this would be a daunting task. Despite our best efforts, the Bible tells us, our righteous acts are like filthy rags. We have flaws. We make mistakes. And like that pocket mirror, we may be used, cracked, and broken.

Fortunately our value doesn’t lie within ourselves but in the One we reflect. As C.S. Lewis puts it, “We are mirrors whose brightness, if we are bright, is wholly derived from the sun that shines upon us.”

That mirror, cheap to some, cost everything I had. When my mom uses the mirror, she doesn’t look at its imperfections. Instead she sees the evidence of her daughter’s love.

In the same way, when God looks at us, He doesn’t focus on our flaws. He sees the reflection of His Son’s love, a gift that cost Him everything to give.