Thursday, February 13, 2020

The Mirror of Our Acts Reveals Who We Are

"...leaning over the mirror of our acts, our souls will recognize what we are."
--Andre Gide, Journals


For nearly all of us mirrors play a role in our morning rituals. Whether for shaving or make-up, fixing one's hair or straightening one's tie, the mirror is a useful tool, presenting to our eyes a true reflection of what is there so we can fix it as we primp and preen.

On other occasions, a reassuring glance in the mirror before a job interview or an important date gives us confidence that at least the external things are taken care of -- our hair isn't mussed, collar turned right, no food crumbs on our chin.

At the end of the day there's another mirror which is equally valuable to us, and perhaps even more so once we practice using it. We can call it the mirror of our acts. As we quiet ourselves and reflect on the day, we discover that our actions reveal our souls as surely as the bathroom mirror reveals our faces.

The mirror of our acts reveals us as we truly are, giving a more precise picture of ourselves than we may wish to see. For it reveals not only our strengths, but also our limitations; it shows not only our inward beauty, but also the defects that mar that beauty. When I look back on my day, standing honestly before this mirror of my soul, what do I truly see reflected there? Thoughtfulness and sensitivity? Selfishness? Duplicity and deceit? Laziness? Industriousness? Courage? Courtesy? Foolish pride? Pettiness? The character defects we see need not discourage us. Recognizing one's shortcomings is the essential first step to the cure.

Taking time for reflection is an essential facet of personal growth, as important to our souls as diet and exercise are for our bodies. Whether it be at day's end, the middle of the night or early dawn, it can be a most useful tool to help us grow to our full stature as human beings.

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The above originally appeared in my unpublished 1993 devotional Nightfall: A Time To Reflect at the End of the Day and was re-published here on my blog in January 2017.

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BONUS TRACK
Susie got a Kia Soul last week at The Duke Boys in Duluth. The result has been a lot of punning around. Here are a few one liners you might enjoy.
--Don't sell your Soul to the devil, sell it to The Duke Boys.
--When we found the car we began telling people she finally found her Soul.
--When I received the insurance documents for the glove box, I said, "It's a sad age we live in when you have to have paperwork for your Soul.
--When she visited our grandson, daughter and son-in-law in Iowa, we said she was just going wherever her Soul takes her.
--Like many modern vehicles due there's a thermometer reading on the dashboard. Susie can always know the temperature of her Soul.
--And when she saw a billboard that said, "Gardening feeds your soul" she replied, "No, my Soul runs on gasoline."
Alas. The temp on our thermometer today was 30 below. Stay warm.

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