The age of beauty

I didn't know he saw me until he mentioned it later.  He had been looking in the rear view mirror as he took it all in.  "There aren't any there," he grinned.

I smile at his naivety.  Always the generous one, my husband, he never seems to see the flaws that I wear on my person, in my heart, on my sleeve.  They say love is blind, perhaps I should love myself as much.

We were stopped at a red light and I was in the vehicle behind his.  I pulled down the handy mirror and stretched tight the part in my hair.  Those wiry grays shot up awkward from my head.  A few hard looks into the separated follicles confirmed that I would be silver haired by tomorrow, or in the very least the next few years  A heavy sigh and a quick flip of the mirror ended the occasion of vanity, but the thought of my passing life returns to me again and again.  The gentle reminder speaks in the squint of my eyes, and in the quiet pain that tells me I can't move the way that I used to and expect to suffer no consequence.

But my heart wants to wear age in full beauty.   I want to slip it on and watch it curve slow over rounded shoulders, past the cut of my waist, down to the outstretching toes.  I want to not be ashamed of the lines that speak of laughter and a downy head that points blame to my children.  I want to embrace the traces of gravity that have touched every living part of me.  (That, I'm sure, will be an occasion of prayer.)

A few weeks ago, my father and I scroll through photos I've captured. 

He jokes that his forehead has grown.  It's true.  And his hair, the strands that are still hanging on, have turned that silvered hue.  It is his sparse crown of honor, his open witness to days lived long.

I know this of my father, he is not the man he used to be, and like his hair he has let go of other things that have identified him.  With an open hand he has offered up the traits of youth, and with a bowed heart he has accepted the robes of wisdom.  Somewhere along the way he no longer desired the need to stand, and found that kneeling suited him better.  It has not been easy.  He has suffered and scarred all along the way, but he has become a time stamped beauty.  He has traded a sharp tongue for gentle silence, a short fuse for righteous long suffering.  A spirit of judgement has been laid down to make room for the sweet spirit of generous God given grace. 

All these years of living have really been the stepping stones to death for him, for me, for you.  Each day there can be a little dying of youth, of the young, sinful self.  It is this journey to the end that teaches us to open our hands, stretching them out to grasp the truth of how we become beautiful. 

I think, perhaps, gray hair will suit me someday.  Someday!


  1. Ginger, This is a beautiful writing. As I have been on a journey through Anna's waning years, it has come to the forefront of my mind that death is part of life and we all face aging along the way. I love being a little older now because I care less ( in a good way) what people think of me and less how my hair is "all in place" and more about having fun and not taking life so seriously. I think your parents are great examples of embracing age and doing it so well. Brenda

  2. Ginger, beautifully written. I can identify more than many as I watch my parents... now 92 and 89 accept all that life has dealt them. I used to write too... reading your writings makes me want to take it up again. You can put so much on paper..... and sometimes it makes more room in your heart to accept more of what will eventually come. Love you, Helen

  3. God's amazing grace has brought us this far and His grace will lead us home. "I go to prepare a place for you." Time has a way of humbling us and helping us to see more clearly what is most important. Grateful to my children and wife for for their understanding and teaching me what unconditional love really looks and acts like. Thank you Ginger for your tender heart. I cherish it above silver and gold.


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