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Ugly Isn’t For Sissies

By James L. Snyder

Ocala, FloridaDr. james snyder


Over the years of marital bliss, we’ve not had many disagreements. She likes broccoli. I like Apple Fritters. We’ve never been able to come to any agreement with that. But, outside of that, everything has been rather smooth.

There’s one controversy that has plagued our house for the last few years, and there doesn’t seem to be any solution. There are some problems with no solutions, and I guess this is one of them.

The controversy I have is about my bathroom mirror; each of us has our bathroom with our own mirror. My mirror has some very significant issues with it.

For several years I have suggested that we replace my old mirror with a new one.

Once, I even suggested I would be glad to pay for the new mirror out of my Apple Fritter account, which was a mistake.

When I said that she looked at me with a long pause and then said, “You have an account for Apple Fritters?”

I knew I was in trouble for that; I guess I kissed my Apple Fritter account goodbye.

The controversy I had is that my old mirror portrays me as some old guy. I find it rather frustrating because I have some pictures of myself, and I don’t look old at all.

As we discussed this, she said, “My mirror portrays me as I really am.” She smiled one of her sarcastic smiles at me.

“Let me,” I said, “go and look in your mirror to see if what you’re telling me is really true.”

I entered her bathroom and was surprised as I looked in her mirror and saw some old guy looking back at me.

Immediately I went out and said, “Hey, who’s that old guy in your bathroom?”

She laughed and said, “I think it’s you, but all I ever see is some old lady.”

“I am not that old,” I demanded.

I then went and got our family photo album, brought it back, opened it up, pointed to a picture, and said, “See, that’s me.”

She looked at the picture, then back at me laughingly, and said, “Yes, that’s you when you were in high school.”

I flipped a few pages and said, “There I am.”

“That’s our wedding picture,” she said with a smile.

By that time, I was just a little bit frustrated. If I look at those pictures and then look in the mirror, I do not see any resemblance whatsoever. How can that old rascal in the mirror be me?

The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage could see that I was just a little bit discouraged. After all, pictures don’t lie, but I think mirrors do.

“Don’t you realize that as we grow and get older, our looks change?”

Looking at her, I was shaking my head and unwilling to reach her level of understanding.

“But,” I complained, “I’m not that old looking, am I?”

Then she handed me a more recent photograph. It was me holding my granddaughter on the day of her birth. I looked at it as though I was looking out for the first time. When I first looked at it, I didn’t see myself; rather, I saw my great-granddaughter.

After looking at it for a few moments, I sat back in my chair and sighed deeply. “So, I am an old man.”

“Well, my dear, you’re not young anymore.”

I stared at her for a few moments and then said, “Tell me, why do you look so good, and I look so old?”

“Because you’re not looking in my bathroom mirror.”

“Maybe,” I said, “we could change bathroom mirrors?”

She started laughing and a few moments later, I joined her in laughing.

This was the first time I ever seriously looked at myself.

In the morning, when I go to the bathroom to comb my hair, shave, and brush my teeth, I ignore what’s in the mirror. Maybe I ought to.

Thinking about this for a bit, I had a thought. Does it really matter how old a person looks? After all, the only cure for not getting old is dying.

I’ve noted lately that some of these Hollywood stars get facelifts, tummy tucks, and all sorts of changes to their body. I wonder if they do that for themselves or for the public that’s looking.

Does it really matter how a person looks?

I believe the next time I’m in my bathroom, I’m going to have a little chat with that old guy in the mirror. I will say, “I don’t care how old you look. You don’t scare me.”  I had to rehearse that line a dozen times to get it right. I’m not sure I can trust that old guy in the mirror.

Of course, one of the great benefits is that I don’t have to see how I look throughout the day. The people on the other side of my glasses have that to handle.

I have learned to appreciate what God said to Samuel in, 1 Samuel 16:7, “But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”

God does not judge me by my outward appearance, but by my heart. If my heart isn’t right with God nothing else really matters.


Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, Ocala, FL 34483, where he lives with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Telephone 1-352-216-3025, e-mail The website is

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