From My 2009 Journal. I asked my mom one day what it’s like to grow old. “Growing old happens so slowly you don’t notice it” she said. But when you look back through photos or the pages of a diary, it’s startling to see the contrast. You expect to look young in your school yearbook photos. You’re supposed to look like a child or teen. The change from child to adult is drastic.
From ages 25-50+, however, I felt no different. Adult is adult. But now when I look at those early adult photos, I realize how young I really was. Enough time has passed that I can see the huge changes that have taken place in my body, and suddenly I feel dissatisfied. Age has never bothered me before. Why now? What am I seeing? I see the squareness of my face and the wrinkles in the neck, and the post-pregnancies stomach.
Do I need to go back to my Bill Gothard notes and stand in front of a mirror and admit I don’t like the way the Lord made me? The funny thing is, when I look in the mirror, I don’t actually see it. It’s when I look at those early pictures that I notice the contrast. Why do I suddenly feel ugly? Why so obsessed with the physical, the outward appearance? I know our bodies are wasting away, but what of the soul? Am I growing more beautiful on the inside? Or uglier? How can one tell? It’s intangible, hidden. I think I’m growing. . . .
Okay, here’s the visual of what I’m feeling. Age is like a rose. The unopened bud is childhood and the full bloom is middle age. But now I’m at the stage where the petals are starting to droop and wither. It’s the second half of the life cycle. Soon the petals will begin to detach and flutter to the earth. How do I feel about that?
I see the tree in our front yard, heavy laden with pink blossoms till a storm comes and shakes them all to the ground. And it literally rains petals. It’s breath-taking, beautiful, soul-filling. They’re pretty on the tree, yes, but it’s an emotionally moving experience watching them flutter to the earth. My soul and spirit can soar even if my body can’t. Age has its own beauty, and I am content.