Sunday, September 19, 2010

The girl in the picture

So we do not lose heart. Though our outward nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day. – 2 Corinthians 4:16 (RSV)

Every year my husband and I attend a holiday dinner given by his employers. Years ago, when the children were still at home and the job list longer than the day (and my energy supply), the dinner was held at a fashionable, classy country club. No longer was I the slim, young thing pictured in a snapshot my husband keeps in his wallet. The years had brought with them a few more pounds, and put a dent in the youthful self esteem exuding from the photo I sometimes wished he’d stop showing to everybody.
There were other changes, too: The long, silky chestnut hair that cascaded over the bare shoulders of the girl in the picture, taken on the day she got engaged, was now cropped short. With a husband, three children and a house to take care of, she no longer had the time for herself.  
That evening, however, I’d taken extra care getting dressed, and, when I came down the stairs, I was compliment-ready. But my spouse only glanced at the clock and said, “We’d better get going. I don’t want to be late.”
He said little on the one-hour drive in the swirling snow to the country club, but I was feeling too good to let his silence ruin my mood. Besides, the evening was still young.
When we arrived at the country club, we turned up the long, curved driveway that led to the hilltop restaurant. As we neared the portico, he asked, in an attempt to be thoughtful, “Do you want me to drop you off here?”
“Sure,” I said, opening the car door.
At that moment, the headlights illuminated a large sign: “BAG DROP.”
We’re all growing older. We’re changing physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Shifts occur in our social life, too, as the people we associate with change, move away, experience life-altering health problems or pass away. Some of the changes we’ve looked forward to, but others, such as weight gain and health issues, are more difficult to deal with. I don’t want to turn into a crotchety, bitter old person. I’d rather age with grace. With all the changes, wanted and unwanted, that getting older brings, how DO we age with grace?
Aging with grace just doesn’t happen on its own. Like everything else worthwhile in life, it must achieved through planning and conscientious effort.
The girl in the picture still exists – deep down in the heart of a pushing-60 grandmother—who’s learned the secret to a happy life despite the aches and pains that age brings: “Though our outward nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day” (2 Corinthians 4:16).
Someone once wrote, “You can take no credit for beauty at 16. But if you are beautiful at 60, it will be your soul’s own doing.”

            Lord, help me to be beautiful on the inside, where it really counts. Amen.

Special-Tea: 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

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