It’s 10:30 in the morning, and I am sitting on my bed looking out at one of the three trees in our front yard. Two weeks ago, there were buds, as the tree awakened from it’s winter nap. Then, the sweet white flowers bloomed, covering the yard and street in white, when the winds kicked up last week.
Today, I am amazed to see the leaves, light green and fluttering on the branches. The metamorphosis from buds to leaves highlights the beauty found in each step of maturation, whether in trees or in human beings.
I am astonished to think that I am still growing into my beautiful stage. The idea that older means less attractive has held sway for much too long. There is a beauty that only time can create, such as the wrinkles that indicate how we have laughed, suffered, and survived.
I see the wrinkles around my mouth clearer than before. But I haven’t ran to the store for creams that eliminate wrinkles. Having experienced chemotherapy with a port to prevent getting stuck up to six times as nurses sought veins, I would never assent to Botox injections, except for migraines or other health issues.
What the wrinkles declare is that I am growing into the beauty that only comes with long life. Being referred to as Miss Regina and Ma’am by younger women and men doesn’t bother me, and I remain amicable, thankful for the respect shown.
One of my sons asked why I don’t dye my hair, as the gray gives away my age. I told him that I have earned each gray hair, and that each child and grandchild is responsible for a section of the gray. Although I must proclaim mea culpa for the gray caused by some of my escapades when I travel (enough said!).
We are a culture that worships looking younger, being wrinkle-free, and not allowing age spots to show. But, I find the faces of older women as beautiful to behold. Each wrinkle tells a story that, if we are wise, we want to hear, for those stories will help us someday endure what they already have survived.
Age acts as a talisman, influencing the way we view people and see their value and worth to the society. Rather than view old age as something to fear, why don’t we think of each season of our lives as having a beauty of its own, just as we do each season of the calendar.
I find older trees more beautiful than the young ones. I see its attractiveness in the storms it has survived, still standing through so many good and bad times. I think about all of the people who have sat under that tree, appreciated the shade it provided, and the moments of passion shared there, and I am astounded at its fortitude and perseverance.
It is the same for older women. Women in the seventh, eighth, and ninth decades have endured much more than us younger women can imagine. Their faces reflect the loves they have known and lost, and the sweetness and the bitterness they have endured. That they still can laugh and be happy, with deep laugh lines showing, should be an inspiration and a goal of each of us.
It’s good to know that I am still growing into beautiful. That my face is still being etched with the life I continue to be blessed to live. Each wrinkle will attest to my determination to laugh and enjoy love and life as long as God allows.
Each gray hair reminds me to not fear the future, for God said in Isaiah 46:4, “I will be your God throughout your lifetime—until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.” So, I will live uproariously, continuing the metamorphosis from a silly young girl to a wizened old woman, with beauty written all over my face.