As I began preparing this Sunday’s talk, I found myself paying closer attention to the time I spend in front of a mirror brushing my teeth, applying eye makeup, and combing my hair each morning only to reverse the routine when evening comes. This day however, I paused a litter longer and allowed my eyes to take in the lines across my brow, the creases around my eyes and the lines around my lips that cause me to look unhappy unless I am smiling broadly. Oh my, I thought feeling a bit ill at ease with the signs of aging that rest front and center across my face. Gone were the thick lashes and sun-kissed cheeks only to be replaced by unevenly dark spots that bear witness to my sun-worshiping days of my youth.
Oh well, I resign myself to the idea that the wrinkles around my eyes are signs of much deep laughter in my life. I pause to recall times of laughter with my older sister. We laughed so long and so hard we were rendered breathless. Mostly we laughed at ourselves and our family’s silly antics. The furrows in my brow reveal just enough sorrow to make room for compassion, yet not so much to leave me bitter. I remember the sadness of the passing of beloved ones, living through divorce and other unanticipated changes in my life. I look down at my hands that confirm the story of aging and I sigh. There’s no hiding the process of the calendar advancing more rapidly than I can grasp. Then I think, these are the hands that held my granddaughters before anyone else. What a gift to hold those beautiful babes in my arms. These are the hands that held and hugged my children as they healed through some of the harsher moments in their lives and danced and cheered with them in times of joyful celebration.
While I wouldn’t go back a single moment in time, I do miss some parts of the fresh face, tight skinned, bright eyed, twenty or even thirty something year old. I wouldn’t trade one single experience of this life or the years that have accumulated faster than I ever imagined possible. I continue to stand before the mirror and gently, slowly begin to embrace each mark, each line around my mouth, each wrinkle. It takes practice to be comfortable looking into the mirror and truly embracing and feeling love for the reflection returned to me. I promise myself I will stay with this practice until I feel genuine love and appreciation for the face in the mirror. After all, when I am seen, it’s the same as when I see others. It’s not the physical that we see, it’s the soul that emerges through this physical form to reveal what has been created in the image and likeness of God. When I think back to the Genesis story, God didn’t just call humans good when we are cute, pretty and young. We are good always, even as we age and wrinkle and all the other things that descend upon our aging bodies.
I look again at the face in the mirror and I speak the blessing we share with our children. “God loves me and accepts me just the way I am and I love and accept me just the way I am.” The moods, the doubts, the worry, the joy, the gratitude, the love; God loves all of me. God loves me even with every single wrinkle and crease. Standing with this thought causes tears to fall as I take in the enormity of God’s unending and unconditional love. If God is able to love me this deeply, perhaps I can learn to fully love all of me too.
Sunday we shall talk about Mirror Mirror on the Wall. To get ready for this, perhaps you will stand before the mirrors in your home and check in to see how you feel when you see you “the face of God”.
Love from my mirror to yours,