The title comes from part of St. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 13. The imagery I use is from the verse highlighted below.
The Way of Love
1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. 3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
8-10Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
11When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
12We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love
.(This version from "The Message)
When I started blogging in February 2010, I was in the midst of recovering from a long period spent in a deep clinical depression. Many years ago, while battling a long term illness, my difficulties in dealing with the pressures of misdiagnoses, pain, countless tests, arrogant physicians, and hundreds of high-powered drugs to combat multiple severe infections, caused an ancillary illness known as Bi-Polar II. This particular type of Bi-Polar disease is characterized not by rapid cycling between mania and depression, but by the majority of time being spent in either one or the other, with only occasional trips away from that state. While I did go through some episodes of mania, early on in the illness, depression was the form it most often took.
Because of a recent drug, not new, but untried by me, I have been improving by leaps and bounds, feeling as much like the person I remember I was - happy! The medication was initiated in December of 2009 in another attempt to slow the downward spiral in which I was traveling emotionally. I had almost completely withdrawn into myself and was very despondent, finding little or no joy in anything. Believe me, it is an awful, horrible way to feel.
After about a month on this medication, the change was becoming quite noticeable - I once again felt like participating in my life. I began contemplating doing some writing, something I had not done since high school, and not much of it then. I remembered my very dear Aunt Ida, a college librarian, who always told me that I was the one who would write "The Great American Novel." I never quite believed her, although she frequently asked me if I had started on my book yet! She always smiled when I said, "No, not yet," and told me to hurry up so she could read it! I still haven't written it - haven't even begun on a novel - and Aunt Ida, who passed away at the age of 97 in 2008, never read anything of mine (since my high school days) other than lettters and occasional bits of silly verse.
When I finally pulled out my laptop and started putting some of my feelings on paper, I occasionally would read some of the entries to my husband, Ashley. He encouraged me to save it, and create a "book" with it, which led to my creating the blog now known as "Reflections From a Cloudy Mirror." Initially, the blog was an opportunity to try and brush up my writing skills, in addition to finding an outlet for expression - to "clear my mind" of the surfeit of extraneous thought that continuously crowded my mind. They were my "reflections" on my life as well as observations of the life around me. The reflections that I perceive from myself are cloudy, indeed, but the more I continue to write, the better picture I have of myself. I believe someday I will emerge from the clouds, come out into that bright day, and see things as they are. For now, I write.
I also never intended on opening this blog-journal to anyone else, (other than my husband on occasion.) As my enjoyment increased, I started reading the blogs of others, and decided that I did want to get some feedback. I wanted to read what others thought - not so much about my writing, but their responses and thoughts on what I was writing about. People I met in the "blogosphere" encouraged me to work on my writing in earnest, and with the help of a number of wonderful, unselfish, and accomplished writers, I am endeavoring to do just that.
The writing I do in my blog, with few exceptions, is in the little-edited, stream-of-consciousness style. Having always been sort of long-winded (witness this page!), I have found that I am also verbose on page. For purposes of my blog, this suits me. It also is a format in which I feel free to post whatever I think or feel about any particular subject. I write the occasional - hopefully humorous - rant on topics that intrigue me; I write memoirs of different life-events; I write poetry, which has so far been in the form of my "Odes to the Everyday" - limerick-style nonsense in which I attempt to work on one of my favorite poetic techniques - the internal rhyme.
I am also learning to edit myself through participating in writing "challenges" of "flash fiction." Writers are given a topic on which to write a brief (usually 200 words or less) story that encompasses the guidelines set by the moderators of the challenge. This has been enormously challenging for me, to edit and cut material that seems at times absolutely necessary for my expression, but which I am finding to my dismay and delight, are not! The site I have joined that offers these challenges, as well as a number of other projects, is called WEbook, and can be found at "www.webook.com." Anyone who desires to improve their writing skills for whatever purpose, is invited to join this community. Writing submitted is published on the site for any other members to comment on, make recommendations, corrections, additions or reviews. It is always fun to see what others think, and to read unbiased feedback on your work (members choose pen names), as well as to offer your own critiques and advice. It is a genuine self-help community!
So, my friends, there you have my not-so-brief explanation of how this blog came to be. It has expanded to become a place to display some of the results of my recently begun hobby of photography. I am having a ball, and I hope, if you have ventured this far into my "Reflections," that you will decide to drop by frequently. Perhaps you will become a follower and/or subscriber, and most of all will enjoy the journey as much as I am! Remember - your posted comments are not only welcome, but desired! Let me read some of your reflections, too! I could never get enough. . .