What if our lives really were reflections of someone or something beyond us? What if the best – and worst – parts of us echoed through the lives of those around us; our love and our fear leaving their mark on our children, our friends, our spouses the way a shadow attaches itself to sunlight? What if our stories didn’t end, but instead continued, like ripples in a pond, to tell themselves through those we leave behind every day?
I think this is what it means to be a Christian. The very person of Jesus Christ reveals himself through his followers, the church. The more closely we move to the source, the more clear the reflection becomes and the more visible it becomes to others. If my life is a reflection of Christ, if my story is really His story played out in a new beautiful mess that is my life, then I’m ok with that.
So Justin Timberlake may be right. His new song “Mirrors” is exploding all over the airwaves and interwebs right now. For lack of a better word, it is my jam. I saw JT sing it on SNL a couple weeks ago and loved it. He released the official music video just this week, and quite honestly it is heartbreakingly beautiful. The video pays homage to Timberlake’s grandparents, William and Sadie Bomar. William passed away late last year after a long battle with dementia and heart problems. Sadie is now left alone with the shadows and memories and impressions from a lifetime of love, commitment, struggle, frustration, passion, and intimacy.
The video captures this relationship through the best of times and worst of times; the excitement of young love, the heartbreak and disappointment that we are all capable of and prone to, the lifetime of intimacy, and the shadowy reflections that remain now as Sadie is left alone. Fittingly, the coda at the end of the song shows Sadie dropping a wedding ring that was worn for more than 60 years…and Timberlake himself catching the ring, symbolically accepting the challenge to face the next 60 years in the same kind of beautiful marriage with his new wife, Jessica Biel.
Last October, my grandfather passed away after struggling with Alzheimer’s. He was married for 71 years, and now my grandmother is left alone to walk in the same kind of memories and reflections that Timberlake portrays. As I write this, she is fighting for her life with some heart complications, as if her entire body seems to recognize that a whole part of her is missing. It is sad and tragic and so stunningly beautiful. If my marriage can be some kind of mirror of that legacy; if I can hit 60 or 70 years of marriage to my wife, through the ups and downs, then it is a good life. Definitely a story worth telling and a song worth singing.
And if I could dance in a creepy funhouse with those pointy shoes and look as fly as JT, then I would gladly make that a part of my legacy as well.
I you haven’t seen the video, it’s worth a watch.