Like millions of other women, I’ve discovered that aging is a bit of trial. Body parts that used to function without any conscious thought now occupy my thoughts when they don’t respond the way I want, when I want. Arms and hands that look like my grandmother’s and knees that creak and crack without any provocation. The bottom of my feet have lost all padding so I no longer go barefoot. Hair that is thinning, curling, and suddenly has a mind all its own. A body that has changed its shape so that clothes that fit are almost impossible to find, even though I weigh the same as I did 30 years ago. Eyes that need glasses, a face that has developed peach fuzz and a nose that looks nothing like it did 20 years ago. When I look in the mirror I see my mother as she was just a few short years before she died. Yikes!
Don’t get me wrong. I think my mother was a beautiful woman her entire life, regardless of age. She aged gracefully, always taking care of herself. But sometime in the last quarter century I ceased looking like my father and started resembling my mother more and more. When I get a quick glimpse in a mirror as I pass it I am often startled. Where did all the years go? And who let my mother in the house?
In a society that is geared toward looks and money, this aging stuff can be quite stressful. There is absolutely no way to regain those years or the elasticity of my skin. I spent the greatest part of my adult life trying to stay fit and keep my looks as long as I could, all because that is what our society had sold me through television, movies, magazines and newspapers. I fought a good fight but still I lost. Oh, I could, if I had enough money, have plastic surgery to lift, tuck, liposuck and shape, but it wouldn’t change the ultimate prognosis. I’m getting old just like everyone else and nothing is going to change that.
I’ve made an interesting discovery these last couple of years. It just doesn’t matter. Isn’t that funny? After all those years of trying to keep up with every other woman so that I would be thought attractive and therefore acceptable to society, it just doesn’t matter! The day that I was set free from concern about my looks was independence day for me. I used to spend fifteen to twenty minutes a day putting on my makeup and doing my hair and another five at night taking makeup off. Then there were the weekly facials, and all the creams and potions and lotions along with the hot-oil treatments for the hair. Good grief, the money I spent! Now, if I put makeup on at all it takes less than five minutes – after all, who cares? Forget the lotions and potions and pots and creams – I’m saving all kinds of money!
These days I am focused on the inside. I spend time working on my character and trying to develop those characteristics that Christ exhibited. I confess it is harder work than physical exercise and maintaining physical beauty – much, MUCH, harder. But it is so rewarding! The changes that occur as a result of all this effort are permanent changes. They don’t deteriorate and I don’t have to daily work at keeping them in place. Once the Holy Spirit effects a change in my character I can rejoice and move on to the next area that needs work without worrying about previous changes needing further maintenance.
What a joy to serve the Master! He takes our concerns and cares and turns them into dancing in the rain! When He promised to perfect everything that concerns me (Psalm 138:8) He wasn’t saying He was going to make it perfect but rather that He was going to make ME be in perfect harmony with His will and His plans. What a mighty God we serve!