When I got out of the shower the other morning, an old woman was standing there staring at me.
That was me in the mirror.
I had just washed my hair, so my receding hairline exposed my giant forehead and my gray strands glistened in the light.
My varicose veins, my frown lines, my age spots, my under-eye circles, all there. All mine. I own them.
Often, when I see myself as an aging woman in the mirror, I see my aunts Marcella and Betty, pictured here after my brother’s funeral in 2015. Can you see me in them?!
I can. And of course, I see my mom who died in 1987 when I was just 24. This picture was taken about seven months before she passed away suddenly from a brain aneurism. I never had the chance to say goodbye.
Maybe I own my aging because at 57, I am now five years older than Mom was when she died. I see aging as a privilege and I wish my mom was here so we could age together.
Yeah, I know that heaven is better than earth, but wouldn’t it be amazing if my 85-year old mother could love on these great-grandchildren, two of whom share her name, Eloise?
Or what about the fact that she never met Michael Stewart, whose middle name is her maiden name? She would have been so proud to see him walk me down the aisle at Erica’s wedding:
Or what about the fact that Kellye looks so much like Mom? The resemblance is uncanny!
In fact, all of our daughters bear some resemblance of my mom. I would give anything to have her in the center of this photo:
I could go on.
My point is that I own my aging because I understand that growing old is a gift. In fact, the scriptures refer to it this way:
Gray hair is a crown of splendor. (NIV)
Gray hair is a glorious crown. (GNT)
Gray hair is a mark of distinction. (MSG)
These verses are not just referring to the physical aspect of aging, but to the honorable position of being older. It’s an award, according to The Message. You earn it, according to the International Children’s Bible.
Unfortunately, we don’t always think this way. Rather than own our aging, we covet someone else’s youthfulness. We want their tight rear, or their flawless skin, or their hair that’s slow to gray.
I’m pretty sure that when God tells us not to covet our neighbor’s house, it means their physical temple too.
To own your aging is to thank God for eyes to see another sunrise or to hear the laughter of children.
To own your aging is to drop wisdom with boldness. You’ve learned a lot in your long life. Share it!
To own your aging is to take care of your body rather than constantly resent it.
You can wear make up or not. You can color your hair or not. You can upgrade your wardrobe and modernize your style if you want. There are no rules except to own the way the Lord formed you and to rejoice that you are alive.
I will be your God through all your lifetime, yes, even when your hair is white with age. I made you and I will care for you. I will carry you along and be your Savior. Isaiah 46.4 (TLB)
Thanks for this gift this morning. My 55th birthday is next month and I needed to hear this. Thanks, too, for permission to keep coloring my hair!! My Dad is not a Christian but his post reminded me of something he says quite a bit at the age of 85. “Growing old is no kicks, but it sure beats the alternative!” Each day is a privilege!!
True words, Mary. Thanks for reminding me that my youth envy is a sin. Now, to walk and talk differently.
Thank you for this powerful reminder, Mary.
yes, grateful for your words, your writing, mary. thank you.
I love my gray hairs – they make me look blonde again! And having lost my dad early – he was 44 – I definitely see every day as a gift.