Mirrors of Life

By Cec Murphey


David mentioned Ordinary People. I had seen the film in 1980, later read the book, and watched it twice on TV in recent years.

“One scene always touches me,” I said. It comes at the end where the son, Conrad, and the father talk after Conrad’s mother walked out. The father yells at Conrad and then apologizes. Conrad tells him not to apologize but to yell at him the way he yelled at Buck, who died in an accident.

Two of the father’s sentences punch me in the gut every time I hear or read them. “You were always so hard on yourself… You were the good kid.” The father admitted that he should have paid more attention to Conrad.

As I quoted those words to my friend, tears filled my eyes.

David smiled and said, “That’s a picture of you, isn’t it?”

His words shocked me, but he was right. I was (and still am) self-demanding. I was also the good kid—the dependable one who didn’t get into trouble like his two brothers did.

As we spoke, I realized that simple message had been a mirror to me since 1980. I finally saw myself and realized why I had resisted looking into that mirror. I had been the good kid, but I had been unable to accept that part of myself.

Yes, I thought, most of us face mirrors. We may not recognize our reflections or, like me, we’re not ready to validate them.

Sometimes I see my reflection in the way others respond to me with rebuke or embrace. Once in a while I “see” myself when I pray or when I read the Bible. Sometimes the image forces me to beg forgiveness. But occasionally I smile and say, “That’s exactly who I am.”

Here’s what I learned: I recognize myself in those mirrors only when I’m ready.


That day with David, I was ready.



Veteran author Cecil (Cec) Murphey has written or co-written more than 130 books, including the New York Times bestseller 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (with Dr. Ben Carson). His books have sold in the millions and have brought hope and encouragement to countless people around the world. To learn more about Cec, you may visit his website at www.cecilmurphey.com.


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