27 September 2012

Spiritual Bankruptcy

Who knew what the real truth was? No one. That's who. In the sweet sounding world of Sugardale nothing was ever what it seemed, and no one was ever who they pretended to be, including me.

Life in Sugardale reminded me of the house of mirrors I visited whenever the fair came to town. There was a different mirror for each kind of person you wanted to be. If you wanted to be skinny or fat, short or tall, round-faced or long-chinned, all you had to do was look in the right mirror.

That's what we did everyday of our lives—Frank, Momma and me. Across the threshold of our front door stood an invisible mirror. Every morning, we lined up in front of it and decided who we needed to be that day—dutiful wife, loving stepdaughter, family man, hard working, church going, pillars of the community. Once we determined what our role for the day should be, we stepped through the mirror and voila! We became that person. At the end of the day, we simply stepped back through the mirror of make-believe and reverted into our real selves.

But the mirror demanded all who used its life-transforming magic pay a fee. Every day, when we stepped back through the mirror, we were required to leave behind a small piece of ourselves, a token of integrity or sliver of truth that we no longer had a right to claim. How long could such payments continue before spiritual bankruptcy occurred? Who knew? Not me.

—Deborah Epperson, Breaking Twig

Painting: Diego Velázquez, Las Meninas, The Maids of Honor (1656)

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