She perches on the step, as close to the brass kick plate as she can get and she pecks away.
Carter has taken up his father's response. Throws his arms up in the air and runs toward the door to shoo the bird away.
She doesn't bother me.
Silly is all she is. Pecking away at her own reflection. Not knowing that there is nothing on the other side, just an image of one pecking back. Some kind of illusion of company, I guess. The kick plate is strong--aged and brassy, came with the door, with the house. The only damage I fear is that of her own brain stuff.
So I shoo her away too.
I think of the times I perched in front of my own mirror and all I could do was peck. I saw this flaw and this didn't measure up and this certainly didn't look like the girls in the magazines. Jesus stood in the window, curtain pulled back, head shaking at the sight of my silliness. He, too, feared for my brain stuff and tried to shoo me away from my mirrors, from the condemning voices inside.
Together, Jesus and I unsubscribed to Delia's (a superskinny tween catalog I got back in the 90's) and we talked of real beauty. I read a [Christian] book or two that told me I Was Really Beautiful and used scripture to prove it. I stopped pretending to be a vegetarian for the socially acceptable excuse it lent me to eat only a bowl of rice for dinner. I started eating red meat. I asked Jesus to make me feel beautiful.
And I think he appreciated those efforts, just as I'm relieved when my silly bird flies away.
But then she comes back. And I would come back, too. To the image, to the question of beauty, to the insatiable longing to know if I had measured up.
I think the cause of my insanity is the mirror I have been choosing. I've continued to place myself at the threshold of Me, to test whether I measure up to Me and My Standards. I've used Jesus and his merciful healing, my husband's adoration, the warmth of community and the value gained from blessing others all to serve as answers to My Own Selfish Quest.
I was never meant to stand before myself. I was not given the capacity to contain the answers to my own questions of identity. The first and only place for me is before a Broken King.
When I stand before Jesus, my ugliness is apparent. Concerns over acne or weight or fashionable clothes fade to gray when my self centeredness and rebellious pride present themselves.
Before Jesus, I fail miserably. No amount of pity or worldly rationale can remove the deficit.
And before Jesus, I'm declared loved and worthy and highly esteemed. No amount of good makeup or expensive jeans or worldly praise can contribute to this revelation.
So the answer, then, is not to stand before my own mirror and chant, "I'm beautiful. I'm beautiful." There has to be a fundamental change. There has to be more of him and less of me, an exchange of standards and value systems and definitions.
Jesus needs to be my Mirror.
I want to look upon him and love him. I want to look upon him and be changed. I want to look upon him and lose myself in him, no longer condemning myself but also not trusting in my own esteem.
This silly girl needs to fly away home. The kick plate has lost its luster and the heart aches for something more secure, more complete.
Jesus, you and you alone are Beauty. Let me lose myself in you.