It’s Throwback Thursday at our workplace, and employees have been posting their senior pictures while honoring all the 2020 graduates.
Scrolling through, I find myself smiling as I recognize certain timeless characteristics of my coworkers in their innocent, non-world weary 18-year-old faces. Reflecting at my own senior pic, I know that I had no idea how coveted flawless, non-wrinkled skin would be. The smile in my eyes is the same and, thankfully, I still have quite the mane of hair—I’m just no longer styling it like Farrah Fawcett.
There was a time in my life I would have never admitted it has been 37 years since I graduated from high school. I would have done anything to lose a few pounds and bring back that youthful, unlined and unworried face. It was not so long ago that looking back caused me pain because of guilt, shame, and a sense of unfulfilled purpose.
Today, because of God’s grace, I have peace and I have wisdom. I wouldn’t trade one stretch mark, white hair, or wrinkle to go back in time as every one of them was earned on my journey.
I had lunch with my closest friend a few months ago, got into my car, said a prayer of thanks for her, and starting crying. Looking across the table at my beautiful friend, I had flashbacks of all the tough times we’ve weathered together. I know what her faith has brought her through and vice versa. On that day, we were both happy, content, and filled with gratefulness. I look at her face today and see a few more lines and I know she covers those grays, but she has never been more lovely.
You see, with age, there comes contentment and freedom from worldly expectations. There is triumph not in the “surface” stuff like our looks and achievements, but in surviving things like the teenage years of our children, the tight paycheck weeks, and the “what now” moments. Peace that comes in the “knowing” that God is in control and in trusting Him with ALL things.
Looking back on the path littered with my failures and struggles, I no longer wince, but rejoice as I remember how God was in it all. Those struggles had purpose; those hard times built my faith.
When I look in the mirror these days, I try to be a bit more forgiving and see myself as I see others, appreciating how special each of us is. What a glorious gift God has given us in our uniqueness!
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30
The next time you walk down memory lane and bemoan the effects of time, focus instead on the beauty that comes from a life well lived and the marvelous journey God has given us.