If wrinkles must be written upon our brow,
let them not be written upon the heart-
so that the spirit should not grow old
James A. Garfield
It’s my birthday week. I have no shame that I am celebrating many years of life on this earth. I plan to have a lovely evening with my family (I’ll try to bill the whole weekend as my birthday and get as much mileage out of it as I can!) and grin from ear to ear when they sing to me, the cake blazing with candles! Birthdays should be celebrated well because we know not how many we will be blessed to have.
Two of my dear friends are in the battle for their lives against cancer and I feel it is a slap in their face not to treat each day, and especially birthdays as the gift that they are. My dear sweet sistas were on my mind last month when that crazy guy tight walked across the Grand Canyon. He took such an unnecessary mammoth risk, daring to mock death, while his wife and 3 young children watched. He called out for Jesus to help him all the way across. I love that Jesus loves fools, too. If he had failed it would have been hailed as a stupid loss of life. But he made it across so he goes on planning even greater feats. I pray my sweet friends are given that same option.
Birthdays, for me, are a time for reflection..both in the mirror and in the soul. The mirror shows me two deep lines on the inside of my eyebrows…they are called frown lines, but I see them deepening when I smile too. I surely have had occasion to do both in this life. I’ll pass on Botox as I see these lines as badges of honor and I know that drooling will come sooner or later in this life and I’d just as soon as be later!
I look at old pics of a younger me and see where my face used to be….and I wonder what I’ll look like as an older lady. Lines and all– I want it to be kindly looking. That’s what I am hoping.
But I have to do more than just hope for a kind looking face. I’ve heard that the face is a good indication of what’s in the heart. So there’s the challenge—kind heart = kind face. One of my favorite definitions of kindness is “lending someone your strength”. That is what being kind is all about…coming along side someone and holding out to them what we have to give in that moment. It may be a skill (changing a flat tire), or materially, if we are able to give from our abundance. Most likely, and best of all is when we give from the overflow of our heart …hope to the disheartened, a helping hand to the weary and sometimes just the gift of time and presence.
Birthdays are a time for reflection. The Christian life is a life of reflection. A constant assessment of how we are measuring up…not to one another, but to the only standard of goodness that matters…Jesus. As I do my soul introspection, I run through the mental list: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. How am I doing on those accounts, I ask myself?
I’m not brave enough to ask those close to me who would give me an honest answer.
So I ask as a prayer, for guidance to make changes to those areas that need attention. Those areas that will get me to my kindly looking face, and in the process help me have the wisdom that comes with living a good long while. And wisdom? Here’s what the Bible says wisdom does:
Wisdom lights up a persons face,
Softening its harshness.
Yep, it’s in there.
Wisdom is the spiritual Botox I need.
The year that I turned 40, I read a book by Valerie Bell called And She Can Laugh at the Days to Come. In the book Valerie tells the story of waiting for her hair to process and reading a magazine article about making a personal list of 25 things to accomplish before turning 40. Inspired, she set out to make her own list, only to realize that every one of her 25 things to accomplish before turning 40 was in some way clinging to life here on earth. As a Christian, and believing that her soul would forever be with Christ, she made a new list that would be a guide for developing 25 things in her character that she would take with her after death.
That was a concept that had never really hit home with me before…part of me, the woman I am here on earth, will be a part of the soul that stands before the Lord. That means I can start working now on good things that I will have there—no effort here in that account gets wasted! (However, I’d better have a new and improved <translated: perky> body when I get there!)
Here’s to all of us middle aged women who celebrate another birthday with joy, and don’t try to deny our true age! My niece, Laura, made this and I LOVE IT!!
Today I am 54!!!!