Reflections from Baby Mirrors

How do I keep an eye on Chloe?
How do I keep an eye on Chloe?

Baby Mirrors for Vans

I had only been matched with Chloe about a month, when I overheard another client from Fidos For Freedom say she had a “baby mirror” in her van. She, too, was late-deafened, and she explained that having the “baby mirror” attached to the rear-view mirror, added confidence about how her canine partner was doing “back there“.

I took a picture of Chloe at work yesterday next to the mirror. (It cracks me up that the Chloe BOBBLE-HEAD made it in the picture too… it’s a long story. I needed a quick way to identify MY silver van from everyone else’s!) Normally, Chloe is in the seat in the far back of the van. She has a special seatbelt, as well as a “sling” that zips her up in order to keep her from sliding on the floor should I make a sudden stop.

Because I have a hearing loss, I depend on that mirror to help me see Chloe. I suppose you could say I hear pretty good with my eyes. The peace of mind this little mirror has brought to me, was well worth the $4.99 that I paid for it at Wal-mart.

The reflection I view in that handy little mirror, gives me confidence and assurance about the well-being of my dog. I see her at a different angle, and can evaluate whether or not I need to speak to her or praise her.

Baby Mirrors for Life

I think too much. Perhaps it’s because I’m married to a Psychologist; or, it may be that as my oldest daughter is a Psychology major, I’m encouraged to THINK. I often “reflect” when I enter a really effective quiet time of thinking/evaluating my life. To reflect is to think seriously about and ponder the past. (This according to my own understanding of the word that is!) Confucius said, “By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is most bitter.” I want to be noble.

I’ve discovered that it’s the “baby mirrors”of life… the angles, or viewpoints that are not a direct line of sight, that give me the best perspective of where I am and how I am functioning.

I suppose an obvious question we ask ourselves when we are evaluating “how are we doin’?” would be, “Am I happy?” However, happiness is not JOY, and the latter is what lasts… what gives us real peace.


A friend of mine writes at a wonderful blog entitled: “The Grace and Wonder of God“. She recently wrote a post called, “Fierce Glory“. I’ll let you read the post, because frankly she said it much better than I could. Sometimes her posts end up on the back burner of my mind – just a simmerin’ away while I contemplate the truths she shared along side of the the reality of my own life.

There are times in my life where I feel desperately unhappy. Those times often occur during times that I put my eyes on “self” and have major PITY PARTIES that family and friends are encouraged to attend. Reality bites, and the “norm” is that I’m at that party all by myself.

I don’t think it’s wrong to acknowledge that sometimes we just aren’t happy. But happiness is a choice (it’s even the title of a great book!). If I need to feel unhappy for awhile, that’s OK. It’s not OK to LIVE THERE. Even in the midst of feeling unhappy, I can and should have joy.

Life can suck. (grin) My joy is not dependent on whether or not I am happy. It’s deeper than that. When God changed me, that inner part of me morphed into a confident child of the King. As a matter of fact, sometimes when I’m really feeling unhappy, what turns that around for me is simply being reminded of my joy. I am FIERCELY joyful.

Heck! The price Christ paid to make sure I had that peace… that assurance,  was too high to act as if it is temporary. The reminder of why I have TRUE joy, feels like a fire rising up within my very soul. My tearful, depressed, worry-bent spine is lifted and straightened with the power of that knowledge. Perhaps it’s a little bit like that saying, “I am WOMAN, hear me ROAR!”  I am HIS, I have JOY.

Lack of Joy is a Red Flag

I was recently contacted by someone through my blog. She is 33-years-old and has started to lose her hearing. Just as she makes adjustments in her life and “finds peace”, her hearing fluctuates and she’s back to “square one”. She admitted to me that the constant battle to “stay sane” is wearing her out. She has thought about how easy it would be to give up the fight. After probing a little bit, she admitted that this could mean “dropping out of life”, or even “taking her life”. (By the way, I have her permission to share this without using her name of course).

I’ve been there. Trying to constantly adapt can wear the starch out of any of us. An acquired disability that is in a constant state of “change” can make someone feel like “givin’ it up”.

In January of 2003, I was “there”. I had just lost more of my hearing and was having trouble communicating with even those closest to me. I was alone in my car headed to a meeting at my church. I remember thinking, “Wow. It would be so easy to just turn the wheel and drive off the interstate at 65 mph. It would be over quickly. No work involved. Those who might miss me would get over it quickly.” It scared me spitless that I found myself there. Perhaps that is why God continues to put people in my life who are also “there”. I “get them”, for I’ve lived that same roller coaster of thought.

It took the reminder of why I have JOY, that I began to “see past today”. If you do not have JOY, you may never find that true peace all of us yearn for in our lives. If you can STAY unhappy, and truly have no reason to exist – take my word for it that this is a RED flag.

Don’t Primp – Look!

Get a “baby mirror” for your life. Stop your primping. Don’t just look at what everyone else sees. Look past that. Check out the different angles that are “you”. Do you have joy? Are you unhappy too much? What do the answers to those questions tell you about your reflection?

I’ll close out this long-winded post with a great song one of my students signed in class recently. I love the words to the song. I’m not a huge Christian Aguilera fan, but the girl can SING.


Look at me
You may think you see
Who I really am
But you’ll never know me
Every day
It’s as if I play a part
Now I see
If I wear a mask
I can fool the world
But I cannot fool my heart

Who is that girl I see
Staring straight back at me?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

I am now
In a world where I
Have to hide my heart
And what I believe in
But somehow
I will show the world
What’s inside my heart
And be loved for who I am

Who is that girl I see
Staring straight back at me?
Why is my reflection
Someone I don’t know?
Must I pretend that I’m
Someone else for all time?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

There’s a heart that must be
Free to fly
That burns with a need to know
The reason why

Why must we all conceal
What we think, how we feel?
Must there be a secret me
I’m forced to hide?
I won’t pretend that I’m
Someone else for all time
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

Denise Portis

© 2009 Hearing Loss Journal

One thought on “Reflections from Baby Mirrors

  1. Denise,

    I love your blog….more and more I come to read your blog when I am having a stressed out day
    or just need to know how someone with a
    different way of being and dealing with things
    deals with stuff… give me that encouragement to get back out and continue
    on my own journey, crazy work day,
    not enough time with my own dogs or whatever…

    Thanks for you being you….sincerely!

    Jane Harford

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