I don’t know what stage of life you are in right now, but I have reached a stage in mine where I look in the mirror and wonder who the person is that is looking back at me. Time is marching on, and my face is bearing witness to the march. There is a song by Aerosmith called “Dream On”, and the lyrics say, “Every time I look in the mirror, All these lines on my face getting clearer, The past is gone, It went by like dust till dawn.” As I look in the mirror these days, I am very aware of my lines getting clearer, stronger, and deeper. However, I am on a journey of trying to embrace each and every one of them.
A couple of years ago, I went up to my husband, Carl, to show him how many wrinkles I was getting. I leaned my face in close to his face to make sure he got a really good look. I smiled my biggest smile to show the true horridness of the wrinkles, pointed with my index fingers at them, and said, “Look at all of these wrinkles I am getting. I’m getting old.” I realize in hind sight that this was a trap, a no-win situation for a man. Should he acknowledge the wrinkles and confirm how bad they were? Should he play dumb and deny the existence of the wrinkles? Carl did neither. He instead looked at my face all over, paused his characteristic Carl pause, and said, “That just means we have been happy, and we have smiled a lot.” It was truly one of the nicest things he has ever said to me, and he was right. Every wrinkle was a part of me, of my past, and of the life we had shared together. My face was a mirror of my journey in this life. On it held all of the memories of my past-the blessings, the hurts, and the joys.
I got wrinkles in my forehead:
As I threw my eyes open at my first surprise party.
As I discovered, to my horror, my 4 year old son pretending to be a fire fighter with a real hose and real water in our sun room.
As I raised one eyebrow in question to a tall tale I was being told.
I got furrows in my brow:
As I disciplined my children.
As I mourned the loss of my father.
As I labored to deliver my children.
I got lines around my mouth:
As I grinned and walked across the stage to get my college degree.
As I beamed at my husband when we were finally husband and wife.
As I smiled and tried not to laugh when my oldest thanked God for boogers during a prayer.
I got lines around my eyes:
As I rubbed my eyes after a good night’s sleep.
As I squinted in the sun.
As I laughed when my youngest pooped nuggets in the potty and said, “Look Mom, it’s a family.”
I got lines on my neck:
As I looked down when I nursed each one of my children.
As I bowed my head to pray.
As I leaned down to hug a child.
These days I am trying to embrace every line and wrinkle as a God-given blessing. A gift. A life well lived with joy and pain all mixed together. A life that was not planned by my parents, but a life that God had planned from the beginning of time. It truly is a race worth running, a journey worth taking, and a path worth walking. And judging from the crow’s feet around my eyes and the lines around my mouth, I think Carl is definitely right. I have been mostly happy, and we have smiled a lot. I couldn’t ask for anything more than that.
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16