Well, it happened tonight. I don’t believe I ever thought about it consciously, but when it happened…I knew. I was going to refill my drink cup at a self-service restaurant when a young man in his early 20s was approaching from the opposite direction. As we headed right toward each other we made eye contact and then it happened. He gave me a nod and a smile and moved out of my way. What?
It may have looked completely natural to others but deep down I knew what had really happened. He moved out of the way and allowed me to continue on because I was the “older” lady and it was the polite thing to do. I have no idea how I knew, but I knew. And I knew it immediately.
Am I really that older lady receiving polite nods and smiles from complete strangers? It seems like just yesterday that was me doing the same for others who were older than me. And now “they” is “me” and I don’t think I like it. Not one bit.
I just recently had a birthday…the 58th anniversary of my birth. And you know how some numbers seem easier to bear than others? Well, I thought 57 was pretty good and I even think 60 is okay but 58 or 59? Yuck. For some reason they just sound old. And if you read the daily newspaper maybe it won’t surprise you that often when an article is referring to someone in their 60’s the word elderly is thrown in. Headlines such as “Elderly man hit by car, remains hospitalized” call my attention to the article where I find out they’re talking about someone in their late 50s or early 60s. Elderly? Really? I don’t think so; but apparently the world does.
As a grandma I often feel every bit of my 58 years…in my lower back and in my aching arms at the end of Mondays. But, of course, inside (as all you other grandparents know) I feel as if I’m still in my early 30s – the good age when you finally know a thing or two about life and when you can also begin calling your parents’ friends by their first names rather than Mr. & Mrs. or Aunt or Uncle. Now that was a great time in my life and truth be told, my mind is often convinced I’m still there—until I look in the mirror and see the saggy skin or grey hair.
Happily, I don’t think my grandbabies see any of this. They just see me. And to them I’m kind of fun, a bit adventurous, and I love to give treats. What’s not to love!
I thought about all this when I was with the kids this week. I was having a particularly bad hair day, had gained a few pounds over the holiday, and as always was wearing no makeup because how do you have time to apply it when the little ones get up at 6:30 and require your constant attention until you leave? I really don’t think they see any of this; I think they see me. The real me.
And you know what? That’s a precious thing and a beautiful lesson for us. What do we see when we look at others? I hope my eyesight sees beyond the outer package and straight at their hearts.
I Samuel 16:7b states that “The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
2012 is nearly upon us and I think the above verse will be one of my goals for the new year. May you each be blessed with more knowledge of God than before and more relationship with Him than you have ever experienced.