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!


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