I was told a story the other night about an elderly lady who had Alzheimer’s and would wake up every morning dead set on going to the post office, which, to her, was making continual laps down the hall, through the living room, into the kitchen and around again. But one morning, after a bath, she absolutely refused to put clothes on for her daughter, Dot, who was much distressed. Finally, defeated, Dot went into the kitchen to make coffee. So as the old lady did her laps, she saw her reflection in the hall mirror. Horrified, she came into the kitchen and said, “Dot, did you see that ugly old thing in the post office without a stitch on?!”
I laughed, the pained laugh of falling in a cold creek. I know it well. It is the laugh of the bright side, you know, the could-be-worse. At least she had the grace to see herself, like few of us do…only the point of recognition had passed. Sanctification, I think, at least in part, is really seeing yourself, if only for a moment, and it’s grace if you don’t like what you see.
But then sanctification is a looking away from yourself too. In a book of prayers by Amy Carmichael, she asks for a heart at leisure from itself. I’ve had a few of those moments, here and there, and they were my finest ones. For me they came, almost every one, out in the fields with God, as the poet said.
We can ask to see ourselves and beyond ourselves. We can go looking in the hall mirrors and the fields for the ivy-covered doors of a secret garden, but in the end the glimpses come and go when they will, and this too, is our sanctification. But don’t let that stop you from looking. You just might flush a herd of deer bedded down in a bottom, blowing, with white flags sailing in the grey mist. Or if you go to the post office, you might see something else entirely.
Here’s a Winter Look and See from my world today. Thanks for stopping by!