Saturday, August 31, 2013

Mirror, mirror...

Ever look in the mirror? A gooood loooong look?


The longer you look in the mirror the more unhappy you will be. There are multiple reasons why monasteries don't have mirrors anywhere in them. After spending a week by myself at our home monastery last year, with no mirrors, I felt remarkably relaxed.

There's the "check the mirror for tags sticking out, loose ends, make sure you put both earrings in", etc., but anything other than that is flirting with danger.

But actually, this isn't a post about mirrors. At least not actual "mirror" mirrors.

It's about other mirrors. The human kind.

I'll just go ahead and state a few rules right now. Really good advice, the kind I always have a hard time following:
1. Do not base your opinion of yourself on what others think of you - good or bad.

2. Never compare yourself to others - good or bad.
If you're short on time, you can just commit those to memory and skip the rest of the post. :)

The internet is a remarkable, miraculous thing, and like other technologies it can be used for good or evil. Having internet means I've made friends over the world, become part of wider groups of women who are trying to conquer child-rearing, pregnancy loss, Orthodoxy, homeschooling, etc. I've made good friends whom I've never met in person (but hopefully will someday). I've been able to reach out to other women suffering the loss of their babies.

But there are temptations that come along with entering that wider, virtual world, and I don't mean the smutty sort. I mean the temptation to compare yourself to others. Now, we all have talents. Some of us are funny and can make others laugh and forget their troubles for a little while. Some of us are homeschool gurus and even write curriculum that will help countless families. Some of us have "that touch" with the home and can create a warm, welcoming, peaceful space out of two napkins and an egg carton. Some people are saints biding their time on this earth, encouraging others to reach higher. Some people are "child whisperers" and manage complicated schedules, overcome medical issues, take time to play Candy Land 27 times before making a nutritious dinner (at which everyone will eat their vegetables), etc. Some people have eight children and still maintain a "girlish figure", sharing their smoothy recipes and easy workout sessions.

Well, and then there are the rest of us, lol. (c; The ones who see an idea on Pinterest and try it only to watch it flop like the ears on a Velveteen Rabbit. The ones who try to disguise zuchinni in pancakes only to wind up with five kids eating cereal and a stack of pancakes to try to eat yourself over the next week. The ones who think of something, laugh hysterically for 20 minutes, write it up and post it...and hear crickets. The ones who are ashamed to admit that they homeschool for entirely practical reasons and would really like to shoo everyone out of the house just once so they can sit and watch the couch cushions stay on the couch for longer than 30 seconds. The ones who gave up a long time ago and let the coffee table be used for art projects instead of imitating sets on "House Beautiful". The ones who make unnecessary trips to the bathroom just so they can read "Southern Living" for five minutes without being interrupted. The ones who can wear the same clothes while 7 months pregnant as they did 7 months prior...and not because they haven't gained weight.

But life can be good! Even if you're a Pinterest failure, a Fly Lady dropout, burned out on homeschooling or overweight. The point of life isn't to win contests or publish best-sellers. Our life here is ONLY to prepare us for the life to come. (In which there will not be Pinterest...thank heavens.) We are all called to be saints, whether we're living in a monastery on top of a cliff or sitting hopelessly on the floor in the midst of crumbs and crayons (and on top of sharp legos). Having a sense of humor about yourself goes a long way towards having humility (or so I'm told...I may be the exception to that one...)

So don't compare yourself to all those other perfect people out there. We only see what others choose to share with us, and they're probably not sharing the photos of the melted crayons in the car or the seven laundry baskets piled up in the bedroom. Love each other, rejoice in the success of others, and if you must compare yourself to someone, look to Christ and the Theotokos.

Love y'all!


  1. Thanks for the reminder, Matushka.

  2. always a good reminder! And isn't pinterest the fastest way to compare yourself to 800,000 other people in under a minute?

    I've been really wanting to unplug and step away for awhile, but it can be so hard to do. Definitely glad to have friends like you when I am plugged in!

  3. Another rule: don't judge the success of a blog post by the number of comments! Some people (cough) don't want to comment each and every time, but have nevertheless enjoyed the pictures, the joke, or the information. Some people (cough, cough, my goodness!) also might intend to come back and make a comment later and then forget. :)

  4. Wonderful post. Thank you so much for sharing. I did not know that monasteries didn't have mirrors. Come to think of it..yes I do...we visit a monastery from time to time and it never occurred to me why their were no mirrors in the bathroom. Isn't that funny? Now, I know.

  5. So true! Though I LOVE Pinterest. hehehe


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