Last night I did the usual. I decided I was too tired to shower off the humid grunge from the rainy long day of toting kids to camp and swim team and a birthday party and then spending the evening at my daughter’s swim meet. Instead, I washed my face and looked up into the mirror to do the usual self-critique: identifying all the wrinkles, break-outs, dark circles and greasy hair…reflected in the bright unforgiving mirror.
Then I caught my eyes.
I stared deep into them.
I had a moment…
My stare remained locked, as the color and the shape revealed what lived beyond them.
I saw a sweet innocent little blue-eyed, pearly white-haired child in an adorable red bikini smiling.
I saw an awkward pimple-faced grade school kid carrying all her instruments down the walking path to school.
I saw a troubled, heartbroken and lost teen… searching for peace and acceptance and love.
I saw a sin-soaked, shameful, rebellious, risk-taking, soul searching, dream catching, adventurous, flailing, flying, finding… twenty-something young woman. Passionate, broken, learning and healing.
I saw a thirty-something woman who surrendered and grieved and celebrated and loved and gave and discovered new-found wisdom and faith.
I saw a 40-something weary, terrified, fumbling mother with a new purpose filled with doubts and strength.
And I started to cry…
I continued to look…and see a history that is rich and broken. Painful and purposeful. An incredible and invincible journey up to this very moment of deep introspection…
Locked in a passionate gaze with myself and all that I am.
My tears slowly dried.
As a smile emerged in the mirror’s image, reflecting sweet and subtle compassion and fierce and fulfilling pride.
Behind all the signs of living. Beyond the circles and the wrinkles and the aging…
I found a woman with faith and grace and giving. A woman who never stops trying. A woman who loves unending. A woman who has grown and matured and failed and fallen. A woman who never gives up and rarely gives in. A woman who is wise and courageous and loyal. A woman who has grown and found her way…still stumbling, still failing.
I nodded, as my wrinkles and circles and every flaw disappeared. I lifted my head in loving acceptance and agreement.
I am battered and beautiful. Guilty and grace-laced. Vulnerable and victorious. Fearful and fortified. Empty and empowered. Fumbling and fulfilled.
This life, this woman, this soul, this heart, this mind…these eyes.
They are mine.