THE STRANGER IN THE MIRROR

She sat on a soft-cushioned chair in front of the dresser and looked at her reflection in the mirror. The morning light seeped through the gray mesh curtains and lit up the room. The yellow rays warmed her skin and defined the lines on her forehead and the outer corners of her eyes. She looked on into the mirror and saw in it a reflection she no longer recognized. 

She was aware that the woman in the mirror looking right back at her was herself, but she also knew how mirrors work, how they really work. They show you who you are when you are inverted, or what you pretend to be with all the layers of makeup caking up on the surface of your skin, concealing what is beneath, concealing you. Worst of all, they make you believe you are someone you are not, so that if your replica passes by on an empty street, you will walk on without faltering. 

When you look into a mirror, you are never really looking at yourself. It’s because your eyes dart from the slightly smudged eyeliner at the tip of the wings you drew, to the red stain that leaked onto your teeth, and to the small strand of hair rebelliously sticking out at the side of your head. It’s because when you look into a mirror, your eyes never meet your eyes. 

She gathered all her courage amid her veins crippled in fear and met her gaze on the silvery reflective surface, overlooking for the first time the things that did not matter, ready to confront the stranger she has become. 

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[UNTITLED]

He left
her
and this world
and made his way into oblivion
as he slowly dissipated
from the memories
of everyone he once held dear
But she is reminded
of his absence
despite the dementia
as the deafening silence
roars from the empty rooms
and echoes off the walls
of the empty house

She soothes her broken heart
with the thought of him
living inside her
as she breathes in the air
he breathed in and out
She soon forgets
all the pain; the misery
and drifts into blissful unconsciousness
only to be woken again
to the memory of his presence
before searching the deserted house
for a soul that would never return

The scab falls once more
and her wound breaks open
The pain gushes out
together with the tears
He died once
but she dies inside
a thousand times over

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: PIETY

There is a famous story told in Chassidic literature that addresses this very question. The Master teaches the student that God created everything in the world to be appreciated, since everything is here to teach us a lesson.

One clever student asks “What lesson can we learn from atheists? Why did God create them?”

The Master responds “God created atheists to teach us the most important lesson of them all — the lesson of true compassion. You see, when an atheist performs and act of charity, visits someone who is sick, helps someone in need, and cares for the world, he is not doing so because of some religious teaching. He does not believe that god commanded him to perform this act. In fact, he does not believe in God at all, so his acts are based on an inner sense of morality. And look at the kindness he can bestow upon others simply because he feels it to be right.”

“This means,” the Master continued “that when someone reaches out to you for help, you should never say ‘I pray that God will help you.’ Instead for the moment, you should become an atheist, imagine that there is no God who can help, and say ‘I will help you.’”

ETA source: Tales of Hasidim Vol. 2 by Mar