What Would Michael Jackson Say?


man-in-the-mirrorThe other day my daughter and I got new glasses. She was very excited for hers and I was grateful for mine because they were free. I tried to pick out a frame that would accommodate the ridiculously thick lenses I need. Let’s just say it was slim pickings.

I have worn glasses since first grade – the ripe ol’ age of 6. When I was thirteen, I got contact lenses and my whole world changed. No more four eyes. In fact, I remember getting green and blue contacts and fooling people from time to time. The things kids do.

Without corrective lenses, I’m legally blind. (Can you be illegally blind?) I can barely see my hand in front of my face. Hugh Jackman could walk into my house and I wouldn’t even know it. I remember when my roommate and I had our apartment broken into that the police officer recommended we get a gun. I pondered this advice – giving a gun to someone who can’t see but hey – it was the 80’s.

When I put on my new specs and checked out my reflection in the mirror, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. Sure the lenses were thick but because of the frames, they appeared less so. More importantly, I could see pretty clearly. In fact, almost as well as I do with my contacts. Win-win.

I find it ironic that the week in which I get my new glasses the topic of vision abounds in the media due to the recent election. Elected officials lament about the vision for our country. Some reporters and commentators are scratching their heads about the results and wondering what they didn’t see. My fellow Americans are trying to see through the abundance of soundbites and news stories that we thought would subside..

My post today is not about who won and who lost. I learned long ago never to talk politics unless you wanted to have a turkey leg thrown at you or worse, lose a valued relationship. What’s going on in our country today is not about politics but about identity. Who are we as Americans? Who are we as part of the human race? What do we stand for? What do we believe?

These are basic questions which can never be answered by an elected official. These are the questions we must ask ourselves not every four years but every day.



For whatever reason, Michael Jackson’s song, “Man in the Mirror” kept popping into my head this week. Honestly, it was never one of my favorites. If it came on the radio or an American Idol contestant sang it, I’d switch the channel. I much preferred his upbeat dance songs. However, this week it wouldn’t leave me. I’ve learned that when something nags at me to pay attention to it so I Googled the lyrics.

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change

Wow…this is a timely message, isn’t it? I didn’t need a new pair of glasses to see this truth. It goes back thousands of years to the simple message of “Do unto others”- the Golden Rule.Coincidentally – or not – both of my children had essays to write this week on this very topic. Empathy. Compassion. Putting yourself in other’s shoes. So this message was being driven home to me not only by Mr. Jackson but my kids.

We spoke of the election results around the dinner table. We discussed what it might mean for them and their future. I reminded them of our core beliefs and that there’s a power greater than any elected official that watches over us. I reminded them that the coming years would be a test to see if they would remain true to who they are – or let the outside world dictate their beliefs and values.

The bottom line is this. We pray for peace in our land but our homes are filled with strife. We want everyone to love each other but we won’t forgive our family members. We want abundance and prosperity but we walk by the homeless person on the sidewalk. We want a shiny new car but fail to be grateful for the jalopy in our driveway.

If we want our vision for the outside to be better, we have to improve the vision we have on the inside. You can’t hate and want peace. You can’t be stingy and want prosperity. It just doesn’t work. Like attracts like.

My action steps after this election are to look in my own mirror, not through my new glasses, but through the eyes of my soul. What’s living there? What do I have to evict? What do I have to strengthen? ‘Cuz it’s not just me who sees this reflection but my children. If I’m not being the person/parent that they need to see, then I need more than a new pair of glasses.

I encourage you to take a moment today to see where the anomalies are in your world. What are your square pegs and round holes? What are you not seeing? What changes do you need to make?

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12)

Jen’s Gem:  If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, and then make a change.

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