Posted in Essay, Spiritual Practice, Terri Stewart

Sacred Space in the Mirror

My theology and my anthropology descend from two ideas:

  • We are all created as beloved children and as an image of the divine
  • We are called to enter lovingly into sacred mystery, to enter lovingly into our deepest selves, and to enter lovingly into caring for the whole world

That makes the Divine and people ultimately loving and good in my view. The place that I believe that it is most difficult to lovingly accept is when we look into the mirror and see ourselves. What do you see in your mirror? Are you noticing every flaw? Or are you seeing perfection? Those are probably two places that are hard to be. What if we looked in the mirror and found love? acceptance? our ancestors? the future? It is all there!

I am wondering if you could offer a reflection in whatever form speaks to you on what you see in the mirror.

my face is not an
the lines do
not disappear
when you shake me
they are there forever
traced over by time
lovingly etched
by laughter and

my fingers
trace the lines
no knobs to turn
to change directions
the path already
knowing that each
knowing that each
reflects love


I would not trade
these engravings for
an etch-a-sketch
away each
memory, erasing
each person
that has walked
the line creating a
new face, a
new face, a
new face
and again, a
new face

cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo by Welshdan:
cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo by Welshdan:

(c) 2014, post, Terri Stewart

REV. TERRI STEWART is The Bardo Group’s Sunday chaplain, senior content editor, and site co-administrator. She comes from an eclectic background and considers herself to be grounded in contemplation and justice. She is the Director and Founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition that serves youth affected by the justice system. As a graduate of Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, she earned her Master’s of Divinity and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Spiritual Direction. She is a contributing author to the Abingdon Worship Annual. (The 2014 issue just released!)

Her online presence is “Cloaked Monk.” This speaks to her grounding in contemplative arts and the need to live it out in the world. The cloak is the disguise of normalcy as she advocates for justice and peace. You can find her at ,, and  To reach her for conversation, send a note to


I am a monk disguised as a passionate prophet. My true loves are God, family, and the creative arts. And maybe just a little bit of politics too. (PS My photo is by Eric Lyons Photography).

6 thoughts on “Sacred Space in the Mirror

  1. I remember that toy! I used to have so much fun playing with one. The picture above is fantastic, though! I was not that talented with it. As for erasing the lines…I would love to do it. You are right that it’s VERY hard to find acceptance of self in the mirror, and all too easy to be critical. I know that when we truly love ourselves, it is much easier to be accepting of imperfection. And really, no one but the Divine is perfect, so that ‘perfection’ we all seek here on earth is an illusion.

    Still, it’s hard sometimes, to reconcile that attitude and way of being when one is unhappy with one’s reflection in the mirror. I also realize that the graceful thing to do would be to accept the lines and wrinkles as battle scars of hard-earned life experience. I would still erase some of them, if I could. If I had the financial means, I would do it in a heartbeat. Not all of them. But many. Thanks for the provocative write. 🙂


  2. An etch-a-sketch…perfect metaphor here. It takes a while to learn to accept those wrinkles and (for me) scars and what a gift to come to realize they are trophies of our living and survival. Plastic surgery is not an option for me. I’ve had enough without going for something elective..


    1. Sometimes, I am tempted to think about it. There is pressure in church leadership to be “young.” Seems the answer to all the problems in the church structure could be solved by having young adults in leadership. I’m not a young adult! It is frustrating. I know it is indicative of our society but…


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