Tuesday, June 12, 2012

who is this woman in the mirror?

Here I am with my beautiful 90+ Auntie. Talk about a beautiful smile!
If you've watched any TV or browsed through women's magazines lately, you've probably been bombarded by some or all of the following messages:
~ Grey hair is always best hidden (unless you're a man).
~ Wrinkles must be made to disappear.
~ We should all aspire to look like our teen or twenty-something daughters.
~ We'll want to consider product x, y, or z to plump up our lips, erase the bags from under our eyes, and tone the flabby flesh on any part of us.

By marinating in these messages and many more, we've come to hate our bodies when they betray is by greying, sagging, drooping, generally aging. (Who is this woman in the mirror with the puckers around her mouth and the crepe-skinned upper arms?!)

Of course we can't stop implications like these from coming to us through the media. But we can counteract them with a different soundtrack.
  •  We can start by familiarizing ourselves with what makes a woman beautiful in God's eyes. One such depiction is in 1 Peter 3:3-4. Here it is in the Amplified:
3 Let not yours be the [merely] external adorning with [elaborate] [a]interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewelry, or changes of clothes;

4 But let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God.

  • We can read the writings of others that affirm the qualities Peter talks about. One such writer is Dale Hanson Bourke.  In Embracing Your Second Calling she writes:
"He (God) wants us to know that the best is not behind us. God is calling us from others to him. He wants more of us than we can even imagine because he wants to do more through us than we could possibly know .... If we can understand what God is calling us to and can turn away from those voices calling us to stay attached to our youth, we will be given a power and purpose beyond anything we have experienced" - Dale Hanson Bourke, Embracing Your Second Calling, p. 7,8.

Bourke goes on to suggest some things we can mull over in our minds and act on, to shift our attention away from our disintegrating exteriors to things that really matter. Try some of these this week:

"Consider how you are different today than you were in your twenties, thirties (and I would add forties, even fifties). List in your journal at least three things that are better about you today" (Embracing Your Second Calling, p. 5).

"Make a point to really look at women who are your age or older and notice their beauty. Go out of your way to compliment a woman on what she is wearing or her smile" (Embracing..., p. 6).

"What has been significant in your life so far? What do you consider successful? As you look to your future, do you wish for more success, significance, or both? How do you distinguish between the two?" (Embracing..., p. 7).
If you'd like to share your answers to some of these questions in the comments, that would be great!

Violet Nesdoly / poems
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Linda at teacherdance said...

It is a lovely photo of your auntie, Violet. I'm so glad you posted it. You may not know but my husband is in a memory care unit of a nursing home now, as of March. He has Parkinson's with Lewy Body Dementia, & I found I could no longer care for him. I am struck with the beauty of the women (and men) there, who have lived productive lives & most are still their sweet selves, trying so hard to live well in a challenging space. I love your post & find that I am more confident now than in the earlier years, and I am kinder, less prone to conflict with others, although I never did have much I don't think. I am content to be where I am, just wish time didn't go so fast. Thank you for the lovely words.

violet said...

Thank you, Linda! Yes, I read about your husband's Parkinson's disease on your wonderful post about kindness, that Tabatha Yeatts gave an award to. But I didn't know he was now in a nursing home. And this is so new...since March? You've been through a lot. I have immense admiration for people who have lived what you've been through. I know such experiences enrich, and can make people deeper, wiser, more tolerant, and kinder--you're certainly a case in point! I can learn a lot from you.

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