“A voice said, “Shout!” I asked, “What should I shout?” “Shout that people are like the grass. Their beauty fades as quickly as the flowers in a field.” Isaiah 40:6
I have learned that my glasses cannot be too far from me when I take a shower. At any given time, I have washed my hair in body lotion and my face with conditioner. You should have seen the frantic rinse the day I realized I had conditioned my hair with a popular ladies hair remover! And, of course, my husband had to be standing next to me the day we were getting ready for church when I sprayed hair spray under my arm and put deodorant on my hair! The look on his face was priceless as he shook his head and went to start the car.
My adventures with “aging eyes” is nothing compared to an experience our pastor told us about, though. He and his family were out to eat at a local restaurant and, being the friendly fellow that he is, he returned a wave from someone across the room. When his wife asked who he was waving to he replied, “Well, I don’t know, but they waved first!” The family turned to see who it was, but then slowly turned back around to see Dad with his hand still waving. They looked at each other and one brave child had to say it, “Dad, that’s not a person waving to you. It’s a cactus.”
Aging eyesight. If you haven’t faced it yet, get ready. I don’t know why the manufacturers use the same marketing techniques to get sales and make all the bottles the same shape and color, don’t they know we usually don’t wear glasses when we shower or bathe? If they could only put a bright red dot on the conditioner and the deodorant, maybe I could remember the difference without looking. Or maybe not.
I guess I was in my mid to late 40’s when my near vision started becoming problematic. I ignored it for as long as I could, but when I had to ask Jim to hold the menu so I could order, I knew I needed reading glasses. Over the years, my eyes have succumbed to aging and now I have to wear the dreaded glasses all the time. If I didn’t, not only would I need help with the menu, but my whole plate would disappear into a fog of nothingness.
So, wear glasses I do. However, I make adjustments. While I was still working I made sure that I had black rimmed, professional glasses that everyone thought were fake. They thought that I wore them to get intelligence points, and I just let them think it. I would show up at regional meetings and while the Director was filling us in on the most recent project, I would take my glasses off, stick just a little bit of the ear piece between my lips and sit there and nod intelligently. “Yes, yes, I am super – smart and I am hanging on every word.” Little did they know that I couldn’t even SEE the Director let alone the chart I am assuming he was pointing to!
Isn’t it amazing the lengths we will go to for vanity? When I was fifty, and people said I looked thirty – five, I would smile smugly and say, “Oh, I’m fifty years old and proud of every year.” Well, now I’m starting to look my real age, time has a way of doing that, and I crave to hear people tell me that I look so much younger. I caught a glimpse of myself in a candid side-shot photo that I took of my hubby and me when we were working on one of his odd-jobs and I almost cried. It had been raining so my curly, gray hair had frizzed around my temples and I had that stern “Grandma face” because I was concentrating on holding up the screen door we were installing. I had to look twice because I couldn’t believe it was me with the frizzy gray hair and sallow complexion. And when did I get that extra chin? I went into a slight depression and pouted most of the rest of the day.
That evening my hubby looked at me as we sat on the porch and said, “You know, I don’t know how you do it, but you are more beautiful than the day we married.” I couldn’t help but think of the saying I had heard somewhere to “marry a man your own age; that way as your beauty fades, so does his eyesight!” But then, I realized that he had his glasses on and was looking at the same side-shot view of me as the photo taken earlier in the day. But he didn’t see what I saw. What he saw was his bride; the love of his life, and I thanked God.
I know that in the world’s eyes, my beauty is fading. But I smile, because in my husband’s eyes, I am beautiful. In God’s eyes, I am his princess. And in my own eyes, I am blessed to have lived as long as I have. These are days that God has made just for me, and I will not waste them by counting the spring rolls around my waist.
God has given each of us a certain number of days to live on earth. I feel that as I mature in chronological years, I also mature in spiritual years. The lessons I learn by looking into a mirror can be summed up in this statement from 1 Corinthians 13:12, “ For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” My Friends, the years that God has given to each of us, are written line by line. They may be lines of worry or lines of peace; lines of sorrow or lines of peace; lines of anger or lines of peace. God gives each of us the ability to partake of His bountiful peace. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3. And there is nothing wrong with having a few wrinkles on our faces, they show that we have laughed, cried, frowned, and lived all in one lifetime. We can trust in God and He will soften the lines.
Aging gracefully is not an easy task. Just like accepting that I needed to wear glasses, I fought it tooth and nail! But, at that time, I was looking in the mirror dimly. I was placing value on what I look like on the outside, not what God saw on the inside. Face to face. With God. Cleared my vision. God knows me, and I am starting to know me, too. I have opened my eyes to the fact that vision is so much more than what I see in this world. I have asked God to increase the vision that He wants me to have in these latter years of my life. I want to see opportunity in what I would previously have seen as rejection. I want to take each failed plan as God showing me that He has something much more planned than I could ever have seen without Him. I want to see reason behind a friendship that has gone cold. I want to see positive where there is negative. And if I do all of this, then I can’t help but be satisfied with the image that I see in my mirror. I will no longer use my age as an excuse to be sullen and sad, but will glorify God in living the fullness of every day that He has given me.
Before I look in the mirror, I will put on my “grace glasses”. I will not see frizzy gray hair, but I will see wisdom highlights. I will remember that the secret to aging gracefully is to enjoy it.