This week, I had the honor of joining a bride and her family as she immersed in the mikvah. Her grandmothers, mother, aunt and sister showered her with blessings, invoking memories of the past and hopes for the future. The ceremony was poignant, personal, intensely moving.
But I wasn’t prepared for what happened as soon as the bride returned to the waiting room. The bride’s mother placed in her hands, a mirror. A large, glistening, silver mirror. The mother whispered to the bride, “Look at yourself. Just look.”
I learned it is a Persian tradition for brides to look into a mirror, sometimes accompanied by candlelight upon leaving the mikvah. The bride’s grandmother explained, “You see in the mirror the journey ahead. The path you will walk on with God’s light to lead your way.”
I couldn’t help but wonder, what did the bride see? Did she see the woman we all saw? A woman’s face filled with strength, conviction, beauty and faith? Did she see a road filled with hand holding, embraces, adventure and love? Did she see fear of the unknown or a trepidation in an inability to unveil God’s plans?
She looked at herself…and smiled. Sighing with a sense of innocence and purity, still holding the mirror, she said, “This…all of this…so far, this is the very best part.”
What do we see when we look in the mirror? Does our face reflect the joy of everyday blessings? Do our eyes reveal the sorrow of tragedy or exude painful regrets and mismanaged steps? Does our smile share memories of unbridled joy? Are we proud of the person staring back, urging us to look deeper, asking us to inquire, “Is this exactly who I want to be?”
As the bride’s mother handed her the mirror, I couldn’t help but notice the light bouncing off the surface of the glass. As if to say to the bride, no matter who you see, God’s luminous hand will guide your steps.
Our own reflection may be hazy. But may we always see God’s light…rays of hope and comfort brightening the visage we see in the mirror, reminding us of our potential and reawakening our soul.