Reflections

 

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This evening, I had the pleasure of witnessing the reflection of the setting sun on the Sea of Galilee. It was a dream come true for me, and as I watched the sun sinking deeper toward the water, I thought about the reflection it was casting and the reflection that I cast in my daily life. Each of us has two reflections. We all see the reflection that greets us when we stand in front of a mirror, looking both our best and our worst, always trying to fix this piece of hair or that streak of makeup. But there is a reflection that we cast which is only seen by the outside world. I can’t help but wonder what I would see if I saw my reflection the way others do.

If I were to gaze upon my own self, through the eyes of another, would I see the person I see in my mirror, or someone I wouldn’t recognize at all?  Do I treat others the way I treat myself in the mirror?  Do I smile at them? Am I caring and compassionate? Do I always try to put the needs of others before my own? Do others see my flaws and recognize that I’m trying to fix them, or do they see those things I’m trying to hide – the me that is far from perfect, my impatience, the way I sometimes cast my own judgement on others, my arrogance?

To be honest, I don’t spend a lot of time in front of my mirror. I don’t wear makeup, and my hair does what it does. It’s pretty hopeless to spend more than a few minutes on it. So I don’t think, too often, about what my reflection looks like. I wonder if that’s because I should be thinking more about that other reflection. What do I really want the world to see? Am I more concerned with the image I want to project or the image I should be showing? It’s something I plan on thinking about more.

The sun casts a reflection on the water, and what we see is the picture on the surface. But under the surface, the rays of the sun reach into the depths, the light creating beams and shadows, helping to create life and dispel darkness as far as they can extend. I need to be more like the sun, showing a reflection that’s more than skin deep, that reaches out to others, sustains life and hope, and dispels darkness and despair. I will never walk on water like Christ did on the Sea of Galilee, but I can be a reflection of Him if I am only willing to try.

Amy Schisler is an author of both children’s books and novels for readers of all ages who lives with husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her latest book, Picture Me, is the recipient of an Illumination Award, placing it among the top three eBooks of 2015. You may follow Amy on Facebook at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth, on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/amyschisler and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com.

Amy’s books:

Crabbing With Granddad (2013)

A Place to Call Home (2014)

Picture Me (2015)

Nobody’s Perfect

Many years ago, a very wise man told me something that I have never forgotten.  After I graduated from college, I moved back home to find a job and save some money until my next great adventure came along.  The first weekend I was home, I attended Mass with my family at our church.  Our pastor, Father Paul (now Monsignor Dudziak), welcomed me home and asked me how it felt to be a college graduate.  I told him that it felt good but not great because I had graduated magna cum laude and not summa cum laude and had missed the higher honor by less than a tenth of a percentage point.  Father Paul nodded without comment and then asked me to follow him.  When we reached the altar he pointed to the floor and asked me “Do you see this carpet?” I nodded, unsure of why he was asking, and he continued.  “This carpet has handmade by Persian monks.  It took months, maybe years, because it was intricately planned and woven by hand.  They are experts at making rugs and create the finest works of art.  However, in every rug they make, they always weave into it a mistake.”  He looked at me and asked, “Do you know why?”  I shook my head, and he replied, “Only God is perfect.”  Humbled, I blushed and nodded.

Do I still strive for perfection?  Every. Single.  Day.  And every day I am reminded, in some way, that I will never achieve perfection.  And you know what?  That’s okay.  The French playwright, Pierre Corneille, once said “we never taste happiness in perfection, our most fortunate successes are mixed with sadness.”  While we all try to be perfect and live a perfect life, don’t we all feel much more accomplished and successful when we’ve faced failureDSC00481 and risen above it?  And who is to say what a perfect life is?  Many would have said that Robin Williams had the perfect life, but alas, he did not think it true.

As Father Paul pointed out to me those many years ago, humans are not perfect, and we never will be.  Michelangelo said “The true work of art is but a shadow of the divine perfection.”  A perfect sunset?  Yes.  The perfect novel?  Probably not.  While we all should try to attain perfection in our lives so as to be worthy of the life God has given to us, we will all fail over and over again.  That is how we learn and grow and become the person we are meant to be.  So I will continue to work towards perfection as I journey through life, but I will remember that I will, and must, make mistakes along the way.  For as the great novelist Margaret Atwood so truthfully said “If I waited for perfection… I would never write a word.”

Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels.  Her first book, A Place to Call Home may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks.  Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

You may follow Amy at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com

The Message of the Sunset

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There’s something about a sunset, isn’t there? It’s more than just the beautiful colors across the horizon and the way the sun dips just behind it all until the edge of the Earth seems to drink it in and swallow it down. No matter where I am in the world, I am fascinated by sunsets. Oh yes, a sunrise is beautiful and signals the beginning of a new day, a new chance, but it doesn’t compare to a sunset.

I’ve been lucky enough to see the sunset from the top of a mountain in the Rockies, over the Arno in Florence, Italy, across the quicksand in Mont St. Michel, France, and from across the Caribbean Sea in the islands and in South America. Whether on a business trip with my husband or backpacking across Europe with my daughter after her high school graduation, each sunset has been spectacular and presented, not the promise, but the possibility of new day.

While the sunrise ensures that those who made it through the night will have the pleasure to welcome a new day, the sunset only fulfills the promise that you lived that day and the ones before it. Is that sad? I think not. While there are many roads you may travel tomorrow and many adventures still ahead, all we really have when we are called home is what we did and how we lived today, and yesterday, and before any of the countless sunsets we witnessed. Every sunset allows us to assess our day and our actions, to bathe in the glory of our current existence, and to relish in the simple things in life. To watch a flaming ball of fire as it seemingly falls into the ocean where it is extinguished amid a palette of blues, purples, and pinks is just a small gift we are given. Savor it every chance you get.

Where will you be at sunset tonight?