I am startled, at first, by the magnifying mirror, revealing new lines about my eyes. It isn’t so clear in a normal mirror, but then again I speak this without the benefit of reading glasses perched upon my nose.
I keep several pairs handy— one at my desk, one on my nightstand, and one pair in my purse. I even own a pair of sunglasses that double as readers, perfect for devouring a book on a bright, summery day. Life would certainly be easier if I did not have 20/20 vision—then I could fill a prescription for bifocals and keep them on all day. But as it goes, I require them for reading and desk work only. To wear them for anything else makes me dizzy, my vision blurred.
At least for now.
I find my glasses and push them up the bridge of my nose. And suddenly the magnifying mirror screams: Look!
Yes, indeed. The passage of time. How the decades have flown!
Never mind my trying to look thirty again— that would be silly. I decide that I will not waste the gift of today, and the age that God has presently gifted me. To long for something else is to invite discontentment into the living room of my soul.
So I embrace middle age, grasping the hours and days and weeks and months with a heart of thanksgiving and joy, digging more deeply into life with Christ. It is a mindset that I must choose as an empty nester, determining not to morph into a woman who spends her fifties looking despondently into the rearview mirror; taking expensive and excessive means to tame and conceal and reverse the swell of time.
Instead, I gaze back at my reflection, dab on my daily moisturizer, swirl on a touch of makeup, and smile broadly at the day to come.
Time is a gift to be stewarded, and why am I prone to forgetting?
I am no longer twenty or thirty or even forty.
Nor am I supposed to be.
So I pray aloud: Thank you God for the delight of today, and whatever it may bring. Our dogs stare at me like I have gone loco, thumping their tails while tilting their heads, quite uncertain why I am speaking to an empty house.
Now I am laughing.
God has a plan, and who am I to disagree with so much as a smidgen of it?
Last week I observed a woman, sixtyish, pushing her grandson in a shopping cart while her daughter flipped through a clothes rack, desperately seeking something. Most people do not smile while shopping for clothes—I get this— but the stylish daughter seemed especially miserable; frowning.
I watched the grandmother play peekaboo with her grandson— pushing the cart away and then pulling him close, pushing it away and pulling him close and then kissing those wonderful chubby cheeks as he squealed in delight, kicking his small feet.
My heart felt happy. I play this very game with our grandson.
And then, daughter to mother:
Mom! They don’t have anything— what will I wear? She snapped her gum and her whine was petulant as her mother answered, How about the pretty cream sweater in your closet at home?
This thirty-something woman rolled her eyes with: I wore that last year, clucking as she returned to the racks.
The grandmother’s eyes twinkled–a clear and lovely hazel encompassed by small wrinkles–her hair salt and pepper, swept up in a loose clip. She was soft about the edges in a huggable sort of way, wearing comfy jeans, and a raspberry-colored sweater. A gentle grandma with a kiss of makeup to brighten plus a good haircut, not overdone. Graceful in aging, and delightfully attentive toward her little grandson, rather than herself. Such a pleasant melody to hear in the midst of a loud and selfish world.
Stirred by her actions, I realized that I want to move happily ahead on the path called today, serving my family and friends, playing peekaboo with our grandson and forgetting all about me. This does not happen naturally, does it?
Through seasons of suffering and affliction and heartache, as well as in times of pleasures and joys, I will seek to rise early to meet with the Lord, losing myself in the pages of Scripture, knowing and loving and obeying God. This is the golden key to beauty; contentment.
Please hear me—I am not suggesting that middle aged people should embrace a frumpy, disheveled appearance, ignoring sleep or exercise or healthy foods–but I am believing that one good moisturizer and a drawer full of kindness, goodness, and fidelity to God is better than a drawer full of lotions and potions and endless creams to preserve something that was never meant to last.
That something called youth.
Isaiah 46:4 even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made and I will bear; I will carry and will save.
Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
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