Aging. It’s this crazy universal part of life and, yet, I feel like we are always trying to figure it out. We are a culture that worships youth. Every day we are bombarded with products that promise to keep us feeling and looking younger. And I sure have been sucked right into it. I have succumbed to the promises – and the marketing – of all the lotions and potions and ‘gray be gone’ magic. I have purchased and returned more creams than I would care to admit. Because I don’t want the wrinkles or the sun spots or the proof that I keep having birthdays….all 49 of them.
Here’s the thing, though – the moment we are born we all start the aging process! I wonder what bothers us more – the wrinkles and gray hair or time passing and never coming back? I heard someone say once, “Life is a vapour. Evaluate and measure carefully.” What if we, instead, learn to embrace aging as a part of life’s journey? What if we would champion a rich vision for growing old in a world that fears, fights, and attempts to hide aging?
There is a verse in the Bible that says, “Gray hair is a mark of distinction, the award for a God-loyal life” (Proverbs 16:31). Y’all – I have a lot of gray hair and I go right on over to the salon faithfully and get them all covered up! And, I’m not going to stop doing that yet. I also use some of those lotions and potions and I’m not going to stop that either. But, I have been wrestling in my heart lately about how much time I give to the dread of getting older. How much time I spend on the computer looking up the newest thing to make my skin smooth and help me lose weight and clothes to make me look young. I don’t think those things are wrong – but my focus is off. In Proverbs 20:29 it says, “Youth may be admired for vigor, but gray hair gives prestige to old age.” I looked up that word *prestige* and here’s what it means: ‘widespread respect and admiration felt for someone on the basis of their achievements or quality.’
And then that made me think of my Nana.
She passed away last year at the age of 100. One Hundred Years! She was the most remarkable woman I’ve ever known. She was born in Prince Edward Island and lived there her entire life. She never had her drivers license and she was widowed when she was 47. She washed her face with soap and water and had perfect skin (take that you lotions and potions!). She was classy and always dressed the part right on down to her earrings. We got to see her last year while visiting the Island just before she died. Her body was frail and worn and sickness had invaded her. And while she really couldn’t talk, she still had a sparkle in her eye and joy in her spirit. Here’s the thing – when I remember Nana it isn’t her age that I see – it’s her life and character that comes to mind. It’s the years that she spent on her knees praying for all of us. It was her deep love for everyone. It was her grace and her ability to embrace change. It was her laugh and her feistiness! Her bible has almost every word underlined and notes in every margin of every page and Jesus was, most certainly, her very best friend. That is what I remember about Nana and her 100 years of life.
And, THAT is aging well. Knowing Jesus and loving Him with our whole hearts and letting that be the outflow of our life. I’m good to go to the grave worn out with all the wrinkles and gray hair and the 20 extra pounds (because french fries are delicious) as long as my life has been about loving Jesus and loving people.
May all my days and my gray hair truly be a mark of distinction and prestige because of a God-loyal life. This life is to be embraced and aging is to be cheered! So, let’s begin, shall we?
*I will be your God through all your lifetime, yes, even when your hair is white with age. I made you and I will care for you. I will carry you along and be your Saviour. * (Isaiah 46:4)