Through a Glass, Darkly

Retrospection. Introspection. These speak of looking backward or inward, respectively. It tickles me to think of eyeglasses being called spectacles. I looked up the Latin root, “spec,” and it, indeed, means to “look or see.”

Have you ever been one to take Sunday drives? If you haven’t heard the term, it refers to taking a drive just to enjoy the scenery, just to look and see. It’s a pleasant pastime–when gas prices allow.

Sometimes, good things come out of the process of looking. When we take the time, we really see. Artists must really look in order to draw what is before them.

And yet other times what we see isn’t so pleasant as a lovely landscape scene. I have seen myself more fully recently. Partly, this is stemming from having lost my mom less than six months ago. That loss is still sinking in, still congealing into firm reality.

Death has a way of sobering us. Of moving us into retrospection and introspection.

There is a Scripture that I like especially (one of many, of course):

“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.” That’s how 1 Corinthians 13:12 reads in the Living Bible.

In the old King James Version, the wording itself lends a cast of mystery: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

Do you ever think that you don’t really see yourself accurately? Like the skeletal anorexic who looks into a mirror and thinks she’s still fat, what we see isn’t always an accurate reflection of reality, is it?

And what is the reality? I am flawed and not always very functional either–like the tea cup in this photo from the Crystal Bridges Museum.

But I can take comfort in God’s promise that I will one day be complete, and one day I will know Him completely. How glorious is that?


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