"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
June 22, 2011
"Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing; but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." (Proverbs 31:30)
The older I get, the more I realize just how a person's body changes as they age. Jon was looking at his arms a while back and commented that he wondered when his skin had started changing in appearance and started looking older. Sometimes it seems as if some of these changes occur overnight. There have been times when I've looked at my hands and they appear more wrinkled and the skin looks dry; they look like old woman hands! I'll moisturize them with lots and lots of lotion for a while, trying to reverse the aging process to make them look younger.
I started getting gray headed when I was in my early twenties, so I make no secret about me coloring my hair. It's just been a way of life for me for over twenty years now; and probably will continue to be so for several more years to come. I fleetingly thought about letting my hair go natural or go a light brown, and that was a big mistake. It absolutely washes out my complexion (Jon agreed) and ages me by several years. Jon has been getting more and more gray mixed in with his hair over the past year or so. Granted, his brown hair is still predominant, but some "lighter" hair is getting mixed in. When he first started noticing all the gray hairs he would tell me, "I'm doing this for you, because I know you really want me to get gray hair." What?! I never said that, but apparently blaming it on me makes him feel better.
Over the past few months, I've noticed another issue I have: my neck/chin is dropping and I have a turkey neck. The skin in that area looks old and crepe-like. I found some lotion that is supposed to help, but so far I'm not too impressed. What I really want to do is have a neck lift! Seriously!
Underarm wings. Who doesn't deal with that as they age?!? That excess skin that hangs down when you raise your arms. I told Jon that recently I saw a celebrity on a talk-show, who was probably in her 60's and very petite and attractive. She was wearing a cute, sleeveless dress and looked very nice. But when she raised her arm, as small and petite as she was, she still had that loose skin flapping and hanging down. Even the wealthy aren't exempt from this! I think women have this worse (or at an earlier age) than men.
And those pesky chin hairs that women get. It's hard to keep them under control. You'll think you have them, but be riding in the car and flip open the mirror on the sun visor to check your makeup, and low and behold, there's a dozen chin hairs highlighted by the sun; or so it seems. It sure doesn't help if you're with your husband and the sun glints off your chin and he exclaims, "Honey! You have chin hairs!" And no, it wasn't Jon who did that.
A few years ago when Jon and I started going to Lampe for the weekends, we visited my old home church. I hadn't been there for a while, and hadn't seen some of the people for quite some time. The pastor started his sermon and was getting ready to read his scripture and told everyone, "Turn your Bible to....." I looked around and was somewhat shocked to see people, that I've known all my life, whipping out their reading glasses. I thought, "Oh my goodness, they're all getting old! When and how did that happen?!"
Skin tone changes, body shape rearranges, sagging bagging skin, chin hairs, gray hair, thinning hair, age spots, turkey necks, eyesight changes, wrinkles...... it happens to us all as we get older. And there's not a lot we can do to stop it. We may be able to slow it down with exercise, beauty creams and hair dyes, but we can't stop it all together. As the scripture says, "...beauty is passing."
My nephew's wife overheard me and my sister talking about all this, and her very adamant response was that she would never put up with those things. She sounded appalled to even think that her body would ever change like that. I thought to myself, "Go ahead and think that girly! I'll talk to you again in another twenty or so years and see what you're saying then! It happens to the best of us." You can do certain things to cover up and help your appearance, but some of these body changes just happen and there's not much you can do about it. And when she's in her forties, it's not going to be such a major catastrophe as she thinks it will be right now when she's still in her twenties. I think she views us being so old, and cannot even imagine herself being our age. I thought the same things when I was in my twenties. Being forty seemed way off in the future! Time has a way of creeping up on you and passing by quickly.
I have several nephews who started balding fairly early, and they embraced it by shaving their heads. They cut their own hair (which saves money at the barber) using the shortest setting on the clippers; and one even uses a razor and is slick shaved. They look nice, and it's so much more attractive than men trying to do comb-overs to cover their baldness. They've got cute wives who are fine with it and don't make a fuss over the hair loss. The guys joke about it and make the most of the situation.
Why is it that some individuals have such a tough time letting go of their youth and try to hang onto it as long as possible? I've seen fifty year old men trying to look and act like they did thirty years ago, and it makes them appear immature and childish. What was cool when they were twenty, just doesn't have the same effect when they're in their fifties. The last time Jon and I were in Lampe we were working around outside and somewhere across the holler we heard a car peel out, squealing its tires. We couldn't see who it was and have no idea anything about the person. But I told Jon, "What do you want to bet, that was an older guy trying to show off for someone?" He laughed and said, "Probably so!" But trying to hang onto youth is not gender specific. Some women have a hard time with it too. We've all seen the women who tries to dress like someone half her age, and it draws the wrong kind of attention to her.
I always laugh when I hear older people adamantly comment, "I am not getting old! I am still young!" Sorry, but yes, you are getting old! That doesn't mean that you have to sit and twiddle your thumbs all day and have no purpose or use. You can be an active, fun-filled, senior citizen and be an example to those who are younger on how to embrace old age. You can live life to the fullest and enjoy yourself, without trying to convince yourself and others that you're still young. I've seen people in their sixties and seventies that I would guess to be much younger. It's not by them "telling" me that they're younger or acting foolish, but by them enjoying life and embracing new experiences. I've seen other people those same ages who I would guess to be much older. All they do is complain about their aches and pains and use their age as an excuse as to why they can't do things.
Many years ago I worked with a lady who kept saying she had a milestone birthday coming up. Honestly, another co-worker and I thought, "Oh, she must be going to turn 60." We thought she would be ready for retirement in a couple years. We were shocked when we found out that she was only going to be 50! She acted and even thought like someone ten or fifteen years older than what she was. Another time, I had a lady working in my department who was the same age as I was. She had married a man about 15-20 years older than she was, and they tended to hang out with couples in his age group. We were only in our early thirties at the time and she acted like an old woman. She'd sigh, and talk about how old she was, and groan and moan. One day I told her that she acted like an old granny!
There needs to be a healthy balance of mind and body. Know your limitations, but don't be afraid to try new adventures. But also don't walk around with one foot in the grave, dwelling on the fact you're getting older and thinking your best days are behind you.
We can cry about our wrinkles and aging body, or laugh and embrace the fact that we're going through a natural process that happens to everyone. The honest truth is, these things are only temporary. When I was a kid, one of the old songs we'd sing at church was, "I'll have a new body, praise the Lord, I'll have a new life." That's something to look forward to. When we get to heaven, we'll have perfect bodies that will never age or have health issues, or fall apart. These are only temporary vessels to house our earthly body in. They're not what we're stuck with for all eternity. Can I get an "Amen"!!
I've written this as humorously as possible and kind of tongue in cheek, but the bottom line is, our looks doesn't define who we are. Our appearance is not what makes us a man or woman of God. It's what's in our heart. The last part of the scripture I used at the beginning says, "A woman (and also man) who fears the Lord, shall be praised." In this context, fear does not mean to be afraid of God. But rather that we have an awe and reverence for God.
1 Samuel 16:7 says, "For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
A person can be attractive and seemingly perfect outwardly. They can dress perfectly, have a good hair day everyday, never have a zit, be the perfect weight, and seemingly have no outward flaws. But their heart can be full of sin and they can be bent towards evil and destruction. They're good looks won't get them into heaven. It's the heart that God looks at.
So when you're body aches, you have to keep adjusting the paper to read it clearly, skin starts sagging, and your mind doesn't remember things as clearly as it once did; remind yourself that it's all temporary. You'll one day have a glorified, perfect body. But while you're here on earth, be more concerned about your relationship with God than anything else. Have a healthy awe and reverence for God. Love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and will all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself. (Luke 10:27) That's what really matters!
Not all aspects of aging are bad. We also get wiser and smarter as we mature. Mostly because we usually learn from our mistakes.
The younger generations never seem to believe this, but older folks usually know a thing or two. So to any younger readers, pay attention to those old folks with the gray hair or no hair, with the turkey neck, and the flapping arms. You may disagree with what they say, but they probably learned what they're saying by making the same mistake you are planning to make. They would probably never admit they made such a mistake because you might use their example as an excuse instead of as a lesson.
Leviticus 19:32 says, "You must stand up in the presence of the aged, honor the presences of an elder, and fear your God. I am the LORD."
Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce for Ice Cream
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
2 Tbsp. Cocoa
1/3 Tbsp. Butter
1/3 cup milk
Mix cocoa and sugar in a small saucepan. Add milk. Heat over medium heat until it comes to a rolling boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla and butter. Great over vanilla ice cream!
My sister and brother-in-law recently picked up their 3-year old granddaughter to come spend a few days with them. The first night she was there, her grandma laid down beside her and was telling her bedtime stories. She made up stories about pony Abigail, pony Jax, and pony Devin; and Abigail was loving them. My sister then decided that she would sing to Abigail to put her to sleep, only to have her granddaughter say, "Stop singing, Grandma! You're hurting my ears." I'm sure Abigail was finding the pony stories much more interesting than the songs!
I believe in the sun even if it isn't shining. I believe in love even when I am alone. I believe in God even when He is silent. - source unknown
We love you!
Loretta & Jon