So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:12
Lately – as in the past couple of years – I have trouble reconciling the image I see of myself in a photo with the image I always had in my mind – you know, the one whose size 3 clothing had to be taken in because she had 8 percent body fat, the one who photographed well from any angle. That one.
I’m not that woman anymore.
White roots are claiming their domain among my black curls. Despite my rigid skin care routine and the faithful application of sunscreen daily, fine lines are forming around my eyes and mouth. Worst of all, a double chin emerges with every full-faced smile, and sometimes even without one. What a blessing that is.
Youth has left the building, and the building, though still habitable, is dated and in need of repair.
I would lie if I said I were okay about it. But I can say I’m becoming okay about it.
Don’t get me wrong. I’d still love to be that scant size 3 with flawless skin, a thin neck and a well-defined jawline. Those were the days when a diet meant having only one piece of chocolate cake a day. Those were the days when I seldom had to shop because my friends would pass on their daughters’ barely used clothing. Sigh. Yes, I miss all that, especially the cake and no-shopping parts. (If you follow this blog, you’ll know I’m allergic to shopping. It makes me break out in grumpiness.)
But getting older has its benefits. For instance, I’m less stupid than I was as a young, impetuous, thrill-seeking woman despite my fairly recent acquisition of a red sports car. I’m more concerned about others than I used to be. I’m more likely to make decisions that will serve my family well for the long term.
In other words, I’m wiser, and I’m wiser because I’ve had nearly three decades of walking with the Lord. I have immersed myself daily in God’s Word over these years, have committed countless trials to prayer and have witnessed His faithfulness in my life time and again.
I’m more likely to keep my mouth shut instead of spouting what first comes to mind; I’m less likely to freak out when trouble hits; I’m more likely to pray first; I’m less likely to hold a grudge. All in all, I’m generally a more likable person in a slightly larger and somewhat worn-out package.
In my ongoing attempt to reconcile myself to the reality of aging – and don’t expect this to be my last post about the topic by any means – I asked my photographer son to take a new picture of me for social media. “Okay, but I’m not going to Photoshop it to make you look younger,” he said. “I don’t believe in that.” I agreed and braced myself for the result.
When I look at the picture, I do see that chin. Yes, I can’t miss that. But I see laugh lines around my mouth and eyes that remind me of the many joys I’ve experienced over the many decades of my life. And I see eyes that have known suffering and bliss, the fulfillment of dreams and the dashing of them. They have been witness to the goodness and faithfulness of a gracious God. I’ll take all that over being a size 3 any day.
In relative terms, someday soon my faith shall be sight. I shall know as I am fully known. I can’t reclaim my youth, but neither should I mourn its loss. I must instead celebrate the many years the Lord has given me – and the promise of what is to come.
I’m not just getting older. I’m getting closer to glory. (Yes, you can borrow that line.) That’s not only better. It’s the best. And I bet there’s all-you-can-eat chocolate cake in heaven.