Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer,
she is like one who looks at her own face in a mirror.
She sees herself, then goes off and promptly forgets
what she looked like.
But the one who peers into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres,
and is not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts;
such a one shall be blessed in what she does.
she is like one who looks at her own face in a mirror. She sees herself, then goes off and promptly forgets what she looked like.
It is somewhat ironic to me that the journey to my truest self is in some ways a journey back in time. I once heard that as a child of 10 or 11 we were the closest to our true nature. At 11 on the cusp of moving toward adulthood, we were confidant. We were becoming more independent but still maintained a profound sense of our connection to those around us, as well as a sense of justice, and empathy.
I am reminded too of a conversation from the movie, The King’s Speech. The speech therapist asks Prince Albert when he first began to stutter. Albert says he always has but the therapist quickly responds that he doesn’t know of any babies who came into the world stuttering. I am struck that our very first thoughts were belief in ourselves.
And why wouldn’t this be the be true? As children, we have an innate knowledge that we are the image of the Divine…God’s reflection in the world. Isn’t that what the confidence and empathy were all about?
Obviously, we can’t go backwards. Who would want to? There are many, many blessings to aging. How many times have we said in the last year: “I would never be 16…18…25 again for anything!”
At the same time, we carry our 11-year old self within and we can still learn from her. As Mr. Deeds (to quote another favorite movie) asks the angry mob, “What would your 11-year old self say to you if she saw you today?” It may have been 12-year-old self but you get the idea.
How far have we gone from the one who knew she was a reflection of Love…who walked into the world everyday with just enough confidence and self-love to really soak up all the world offered…who joyfully received and offered herself with abandon. What was your 11-year-old self like?
Today I am going to take the advice of the poet Anne Sexton and, “put (my) ear down close to (my) soul and listen hard.” Perhaps I will hear the whispers that will help me recollect myself…recollect myself as she who God created me to be.
And perhaps then I will confidently and lovingly carry that reflection out into the world.