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Friday, December 12, 2014

The Woman In The Mirror

She stared at her 8 year old reflection with hopeful eyes.  Her dancing dreams leaped before the face of her present self.  Those cherub cheeks were disguised by the vision of what her future ballerina life might hold.  Inside her was a tiny spark that pulled her away from the mirror to help a little friend who was being teased.

She stared again at the age of 17.  Staring back were the uneasy, wandering eyes of a teenager trying desperately to place herself somewhere in the world.  The vision of the handsome boy dribbling down the basketball court shrouded her nymph face in the haze of young love.  A small internal flame pulled her away from that reflection to volunteer at a soup kitchen.

At 21 a young woman stared at her superhero reflection.  Filled with years of adult matriculation and rocket boots to conquer the world, she glowed with possibility of her future.  Freedom swirled around her wrinkle free face and she smiled confidently at the journey ahead.  A stoked fire inside pushed her away from the mirror and toward a group of people with disabilities needing her knowledge to help them make a better life for themselves.

At 24 she stared at her same young face somehow softer and less like wonder woman.  Her hair was perfectly coifed and she wore a white gown.  The years with her future husband set fireworks off inside her.  This man would help make her journey sweet.  Not needing to stare at her reflection for it was in her husband's eyes, she focused on another group of people needing her help to find jobs.

She stared at her 26 year old silhouette as it grew outward with a basketball shaped tummy.  The radiant, maternal glow filled her with pure joy as she anticipated the arrival of her first child.  Her husband stood next to her and they shared in the happiness of their future family life.  She was not pulled away from this reflection and the fire inside roared with the possibility of teaching kindness to the tiny person inside of her.

At 36, her tired face showed the years of raising kids and doting on them.  A few pounds had been added to her feminine frame, and the radiant young woman still stared back at her mind's eye.  The internal fire dwindled a bit, as the heat had been transferred to her children.  The embers burned hot in the pit awaiting her next move.  The kids' fires were growing, as they learned how to help those around them.

When she stared at age 50, her reflection showed a few more wrinkles and a softer gut.  The flames inside had reignited when she started volunteering at a local homeless shelter.  Her children were elsewhere, spreading their kindness on others.

She was shocked at her reflection when age 80 happened.  Could it really be her?  The time spent learning how to be herself and to help others was long past.  Now she was the one needing a little help here and there.  The soreness in her joints didn't stop her from trying to continue spreading that kindness wherever she went.

Her family stood around her on her last day.  The time had come for them to say goodbye.  No fear had entered her mind and she smiled at the life she'd lived.  As her spark started to go out, it suddenly burst from her like a tossed log landing on a bonfire.  That kindness fire spread in all directions and entered all of those around her.  They were each filled with the knowledge that we don't end, but are renewed in all the lives we touch along the way.

The 8 year old granddaughter who stood nearby her grandmother's last breaths felt the spark inside her ignite.  She pulled herself from her distracted gaze out the window to hold her father's hand.  The cycle of goodness had begun again.    

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