Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Mirror

The Mirror
by Sonja Andrews

Once upon a time, beloved, there was a great large and wonderful Mirror with special miraculous powers. Anyone might consult it at any time. It would always reflect back to the consulter a full and complete image of the answer to the question put to it. The images were always beautiful and perfect; lovely to behold.

Everyone was happy, beloved, in the land of Happy Thoughtsanddeeds. They knew where to find their answers when they needed them. They talked with one another and they spoke to the Mirror too. Everyone got along. Nobody thought any less of themselves and nobody thought any more of themselves.

The time came when BadNewsDude slipped into this land of Happy Thoughtsanddeeds. He knew that of all the people in the land, there was only one whose ear would be open to hear his words. So BadNewsDude hid out for a while near the Mirror to see who should chance by. BadNewsDude was endlessly patient.

Finally, along came a young couple, Dave and Dawn. When BadNewsDude approached them they could see him and hear him. At last! Someone to hear his tale of woe and so he began to tell the long sad story of how he too, used to live in the land of Happy Thoughtsanddeeds. He told about how, through no fault of his own, he’d been unjustly accused of heinous crimes. His sentence was to spend his days slithering and crawling on his belly until someone could find it in their heart to forgive him. Dave and Dawn looked at each other, at BadNewsDude, then at each other again. They realized that BadNewsDude was asking something of them that they did not want to give. So they asked him to leave them alone while they talked to the Mirror. But BDN kept pestering them. He wanted to live in the land again. And he kept talking. He kept bothering them. He just would ... not ... shut ... up! Until finally he got on Dawn’s last nerve and... she threw a rock at him!

What? A gasp went out through the whole land. Nothing of this sort had ever happened in the land. Whenever the people had a problem, they talked about it and came to agreements. But no one...ever...threw... a rock.

In the next minute, the Mirror cracked all the way up the middle. A great, long and jagged crack, with lots of little spider legs running off in all directions.

Dave and Dawn were frozen, side by side, looking at each other and looking at the Mirror.

The Elders came running up to see what had happened. They all consulted the Mirror to see how they should proceed. The Mirror held all three of them responsible for the damage that had been done in the land of Happy Thoughtsanddeeds.

As it happened, beloved, the women all stood with Dawn and the men all stood with Dave. So the women all saw a portion of the image that the Mirror was now able to show them. And the men all saw a portion. But the women could no longer see the men’s portion and the men could no longer see the women’s portion.

The Mirror spoke to them as it had in the past. But the message it gave was no longer clear. The people were now confused about how to relate to one another. They didn’t know how to go about settling their differences. They couldn’t hear from the Mirror and they could no longer see it’s beautiful images as whole, perfect pictures.

Early on, the Elders would gather when people attempted to consult the Mirror and help them with putting the pieces together. For a while life continued on as it always had in the land. Gradually, the people began to think they could consult the Mirror again on their own.

The Elders began to die. The new Elders were not as skilled in reading the broken Mirror. All these things happened and many others.

The biggest problem everyone faced, though, was that no one could see a perfect image anymore. The women all saw one part. The men all saw another. They tried diligently to describe their parts to one another, but each secretly thought that the other’s part wasn’t quite as important as their own. In the earlier days, this allowed everyone to hobble along. It wasn’t quite as wonderful as when the Mirror was whole. It wasn’t terrible either. It was still the Land of Happy Thoughtsanddeeds. But over time it came to pass that everyone expected the men would do the describing and women would do the listening.

This filled the men with self-importance, self-love, and self-loathing. For each of them knew both the great and horrible things they were capable of. Without the balance provided by the women’s portion of the image, they were in perpetual danger of committing horrible things. But no one was willing or able to hear or ask for the women’s portion of the image.

On the other hand this turn of events filled the women with self-importance, self-love and self-loathing. They knew the great and horrible things they were capable of. Without giving their voice to the men’s image they perpetuated the danger. They sat mute, filled with self-pity and refused to participate in the process. No one was willing or able to speak into the midst of the men’s voices.

More years passed. Men and women grew further apart, though in some small ways they grew closer together. But in the larger ways, they did not know how to talk to each other. The men knew how to describe the men’s image, but they did not know how to hear the women. The women knew how to hear the men’s image, but they did not know how to describe the women’s image for them. In every way they had lost the ability to reflect or communicate those perfect lovely images they had once seen in the Mirror.

People continued to attempt to live after the images that had been shown long ago. Many attempts were ragged and bitter. Ragged because the men, having lost their hearing, did not have a whole perfect image to use for a pattern. Bitter because the women, having lost their voices, could not use a whole perfect image to use for a pattern.

Which brings us to the end of our story, beloved. The men and women no longer live in the land of Happy Thoughtsanddeeds. They are struggling to find each other and their wonderful Mirror again. There are a few men who wonder if perhaps they have lost their hearing, and how they could get it back. There are a few women who are learning how to speak. The few men and the few women seem to understand that it will take both of them working together, describing their images to each other to find their way back to the Mirror. So while our story ends here, beloved, it may be that the people will someday find their land and their Mirror again. But it will take quite a long time indeed.

Sonja Andrews is a quilter, fiber artist, writer and homeschooling mother who lives in Virginia but her heart is in Montana. She has been exploring the Celtic way of faith for several years and enjoys story-telling as a learning tool. She blogs under the pseudonym aBhantiarna Solas at Calacirian and can be e-mailed at Sonja at paxunum dot org.

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