Amie and Mark’s date night was a great excuse for Kathy and I to spend time with granddaughter Emmalie. I felt reasonably sure when Amie called to ask if we were available to babysit that I could volunteer the both us without hesitation. So when Saturday came around, we headed to Winston-Salem to begin our own date night with Em.
The evening was all planned with child-friendly stuff, but on the spur of the moment, I asked Kathy if she would like to swing by her favorite furniture consignment store while we were in town. I don’t ask if I’m not already pointing the car in that direction – Kathy is always ready to stroll through that shop. It proved to be a different kind of stroll with eighteen-month Emmalie in tow.
After fiddling with the car seat much longer than my daughter has to, I lifted our little one from the car; we headed to the door, and Emmalie began greeting the crowds. She smiled and waved to one and all, and by the time we made it to the first row of furnishings, she knew she owned the place.
Letting go of my hand, Emmalie was off a few yards away – little ones move fast! She short-cutted under tables that I had to walk around, and I kept track of her by following her happy laughter. I caught up to her at a big floor length mirror. She recognized herself and grinned as the other Em waved back at her, mimicking her every move. Kathy and I chuckled.
Suddenly, Em ducked behind the mirror, peeking to find the little girl on the other side. When she looked back at us, her smile was gone and she looked puzzled. There was no other little one back there. She peered into the mirror again, waved tentatively at her reflection, checked the back once more, disenchanted she moved on. But I stood gazing into the mirror.
The reflection I now saw was Emmalie’s mom, my daughter Amie. Emmalie is so much like Amie was: the same petite frame, take-charge kind of confidence, the permanent smile and laughing voice, and the same manner of capturing my attention and heart in just one motion. I looked at the back of my granddaughter toddling off and slipped thirty years back in time imagining my daughter once more.
There are several mirrors in our home. The way they reflect light and open up a space has always been something we employed to make the most of our modest homes. They gave our daughters a sense of security, too, in the way they made it possible to look around corners and see the big picture of the rooms when they arrived home before their parents. Mirrors were inexpensive art pieces, too, reflecting the coziness of the interiors or the majesty of the natural world through windows.
Our children used mirrors to see friendly faces, practice waves, and play peep-eye. Our teenagers used mirrors to audition new outfits and hair styles, to prepare to face the world. We use mirrors to see again a favorite view, to elongate a narrow room, to bounce light into a dark corner.
I haven’t found the time to finish hanging two mirrors in the front room of our new home, and when Emmalie is visiting and I miss her little footsteps on the wood floors, I know she is at the front door where a round mirror rests against a wall. She places her hands on her knees and bends to see her face appear. She predictably moves to steal a peek around the back of the mirror, looking for her reflection. Invariably, when she pops back to the front of the mirror, it’s Amie I steal a peek of looking back at me with that same big smile, crinkly eyes, and joyful look that makes my world a brighter place.
In Ephesians, Paul reminds us that we put on a new self after accepting Christ’s gift of salvation. It is a self that reflects the very likeness of God with His righteousness and holiness. I desire my actions and my words to imitate Jesus. I hope to reflect my savior in the mirror of my life so that others see the good in me and praise the Father in heaven. I wish for God to smile because He catches a small glimpse of His Son in something I do for His glory.
We are to be mirrors reflecting the Jesus in us to a world who needs to know Him. We who trust Him for our salvation are called by His name; we should strive to project that image.
It will look odd for a while, but I think I will hang that mirror at an Emmalie height. That smile’s reflection is not to be missed when she is facing the other way!