Dancing, Mirrors, and Beauty Beyond . . . Selfies

It all started with the Winter 2014 Olympics. I watched the dance of Meryl Davis and Charlie White, the one that won them gold, and I was deeply moved. I watched reruns. I could probably watch it again today and still be moved with the dance. It was beautiful. Breath-taking. Graceful.

With that said, I became interested in watching more dancing and hearing the journeys behind such dances. This led me to Dancing with the Stars. I watched Season 19 during Thanksgiving break, and now I am enjoying the current season. There are plenty of reasons why I have enjoyed watching this show. I loved the entertainment, artistry, and soul the dances bring. Plus, sometimes the celebrities and their journeys can be downright inspirational, and I find myself taking notes. Let me explain. Week 4 of this season had celebrities attempting to complete a dance that reflected an important year in their life. Enter Noah Galloway. Model. Inspirational Speaker. But there is more. . .

Mirrors. It has been discussed before, what we see when we peer into them. Noah Galloway used a mirror in his fourth week of dancing. He could have been the typical male dancer on the show—physically fit (meaning well defined abs), good looks, fine hair—except Galloway was missing an arm and a leg. Sure he had a prosthetic leg, but he admitted after losing them to a roadside bomb as a soldier in Iraq, he struggled with his losses. In his post dance video, Galloway said he had to look in the mirror and stop focusing on what he was missing and focus on what he had. Once he changed his perspective, Galloway’s life began to change for the better. “It was like I had to be injured. I had to go through that dark time to get where I am today,” he admitted. For Galloway, it was arriving at the point where millions of people were hearing his story and witnessing him lift and twirl his partner around with one very strong arm. After his fourth dance that echoed his life’s story, one of the judges mentioned that we all look in the mirror and find something we don’t like about ourselves. She thanked Galloway for overcoming his apparent physical limitations to dance on national TV. Of course, the audience cheered.

I cheered too, but I also began to think about how applicable the judge’s statement, Galloway’s story, and mirrors are in my own life. Mirrors in my life? I for one, avoid them as much as possible. Or I used too. I looked as long as necessary, because here is the sad truth: I used to hate myself, my looks, who I was. Nothing necessarily catastrophic ever happened in my life. I have had a pretty safe, average life, but sometimes it is the little things that hurt. Miniscule, almost invisible pieces of glass do not usually hurt. However, everyone knows if you happen to step on those little shards of glass with a barefoot, a lot of pain and damage is inflicted in that unassuming foot!

Like Galloway, I used to center my attention on the pain of past mistakes and what I thought were my glaring inabilities. Thankfully, I have learned that I am defined by more than flaws and failures. Yet, sometimes I forget that. I slipped back into mentally abusing myself, and when I look in the mirror I see only a distorted figure. Sometimes it takes a nudge from God (In this case, Galloway’s story) to remind me that when I look in the mirror I am seeing His image, His grace, and all the beautiful possibilities He has for me.

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