“Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror,
But you are the eternity and you are the mirror.”
— Kahlil Gibran (1883–1931)
There is a certain perfection and peace about eternity, in that it is unchanging and unchangeable. God is eternity. Yet so, apparently, are we. As eternity is closer than we think, so also is God closer than we think. His Spirit who indwells us is our eternal connection and our connection with eternity. We would not be who we are, or even alive, if it weren’t for this sense of eternity that is wound up in our hearts and grounded in our souls.
Eternity in its perfection is not narcissistic by gazing at itself. It is beauty after all. It, being the encapsulation of everything there is—‘it’ being God—cannot help but observe itself and monitor itself.
Yet eternity and the mirror seem to be two separate entities; the mirror a function more than an object. The mirror is a metaphor for what it is that all living things do—the function of auditing the environment and facilitating a sort of homeostasis by feedback. Eternity is a metaphor for the awesome incomprehensibility of humanity in this God-provided world.
Combining the Metaphors of Eternity and Mirror
If we are the eternity and we are the mirror, we are closer to everything than we think. And in all this we’re beautiful. More beautiful than any of us imagine.
We have a world of potential within each of us and we have the ability to see this truth. When we see it, it transforms us radically.
Because eternity is founded never more intrinsically within every one of us, we cannot escape it even if we try. And eternity requires that we respond to the truth—but because of God (that God is love) we have the choice: courage or deny.
Eternity shows us how we can honour God, in abiding to truth, because it uses a mirror to show us where we are and how we are doing.
Mirrors are good things. They show us precisely the status quo. They don’t lie, unless they are those types of mirrors that are distorted. But the mirrors eternity gazes into are straight and true. Eternity could not abide in the mirror otherwise.
What does all this mean?
We are closer to our purpose than we think and in truth there is never a better ally. But even more poignant is the fact that we’re grounded in God. Provision has been made for both eternity and the mirror, to found us and to guide us. God loves us so much that he has provided us both structure and feedback. Life would not be life without these two.
In life we need boundaries and feedback on how we’re interacting with our boundaries. This is the basis of life as we know it. In that is a great sense of peace.
We are all beautiful in our time and God has dressed us for this life from eternity. He has also given us eternity by the Holy Spirit. These are facts to accept, not deny. Life works best when we go about it harmoniously.
As eternity and the mirror are metaphors of grace and truth, we must model ourselves on their sense of timeless beauty and unchanging reliability. We claim peace as a result.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.