I didn’t use to be so worried about wrinkles. Which made sense because I didn’t have any. I think for a very long time I was actually convinced that I would be the one person in the history of time who would grow old without ever having to buy wrinkle cream.
A few months ago I was getting ready in the bathroom and Ellie walked in and said something funny. I laughed and then gasped at my reflection in the mirror. Were those…? I mean, surely not. I’ve worked out all the details. No gray hair, no wrinkles, no belly fat, no stretch marks. And I accepted the latter two as payment for my babies. But the Lord and I had not come to any definitive conclusions about the rest of it.
Imagine my surprise a few days later when I found not one, but three gray hairs.
Clearly, it was time for intervention (and by “intervention” I mean “shopping).
I headed to Sephora because they are like a therapist but with more lipstick choices. I found a woman who seemed to have made the same pact with God about aging but apparently had better moisturizer than I did. She walked me to the back of the store and introduced me to an eye cream that smelled like dead fish. I wanted to embrace the dead fish because once my teenage skin came back it would seem like a small price to pay. I bought the fish stuff, along with a few other “must-haves” for the rewind process. I’m not going to say I didn’t give it a fair shot, but approximately 45 minutes after I put it on, I still saw some wrinkles and I gave a monologue that would have made Solomon seem optimistic in Ecclesiastes.
Stupid wrinkles. They’re just around my eyes a little and mostly when I smile. Actually, I’m not even 100% sure they are wrinkles. They might just be my face.
They smell like fish now.
My thought process for a few days went something like this:
“I’m old. I’m practically on the doorstep of death. I need to deal with it.”
“Who cares what I look like? I mean, the Lord doesn’t look at the face. He looks at the heart.”
“Well that’s good. But unfortunately, everyone else looks at your face and yours is old and freaky looking. And I would be much more concerned about your arm fat than your wrinkles. You can give up smiling forever but your arms are going to have to move.”
“I’m so vain. I need to get over it.”
And on and on. And then on a little more because why not go for broke, you know?
I know I’m not the only one who has been through this, and I also know that it’s inevitable. But I guess I never realized I was going to be included.
Truth be told, I don’t think it’s even about face lines or gray hairs.
I just don’t want things to be moving quite so fast.
I meant to take a picture of Charlotte’s tiny little baby feet hanging off the rocking chair the other day and I took at least 15 photos, bemoaning the way the angle was making them look so big. I scrolled through a couple and looked up at her again, and in an instant I realized they were wholly representing what existed. Her feet are chubby and delicious, and I kiss them every single day. And somewhere in the kissing and the shoes and the towel drying them after bath time, I missed the part where they changed.
The camera doesn’t lie, and neither does the mirror.
My heart says, “It will never change,” but the reflections tell me otherwise.
I sat in the moonlight all alone that night and whispered to Him, “Why?”
Why do you let me love things as they are only to tell me they won’t stay?
And as the blushing bride, ever well-intentioned, I realized my mistake as soon as the words left my mouth.
All this dark night, and you sit in the moonlight asking why.
I’ve been holding it all too tightly. Shoving feet in tiny shoes and scrutinizing the way the hours are robbing me of what was beautiful. I missed the way He lit up the night for me.
His painting of my hair and ticking of the clock.
His spectacular plan that I’m so tempted to forget in favor of wrinkle cream and doubt. I get the sense that I’ve been treading water for a long time, asking Him to give me something that feels better.
I spend more time looking for my reflection in a mirror, rather than in the night sky. I want to drink deep of the landscape He has blessed me with. Not from behind a camera, trying to clip and edit until it matches my heart, but as a woman who can see the stars spilled out and believe Him.
There is beauty in the believing, isn’t there?
It’s a warm summer day today, and I have a feeling my backyard will be full of noises and patches of light tonight.
And as it often does, the wind will pick up the swings and move them back and forth while I cry out for them to be still. Tonight I will watch them and I will smile.
And instead of worrying about the swings, I will thank Him for the wind.
Always nudging us toward our home with Him.
Jesus, You make it all unbearable beautiful when we dare to look. Thank you for the mercy that sets us all free to love you in return…You are Everything.
And also, Jesus?
I don’t want to smell like fish anymore.