Maybe it was the face of Heidi Montag (and her ten surgeries in one day story) staring at us from the cover of People magazine resting on the breakfast room table. Could be the fact that we were a bunch of folks of all ages gathered together discussing the challenges and joys of growing older while we try to grow up. Regardless, the discussion about how we change from youth to old age led to a conversation about wedding photos. My wonderful wife went into one of the other rooms and pulled out a wedding photo of us on our happy day.
Now, you have to know this to enjoy this moment: my wife is just as beautiful and youthful as she was the day we vowed before God to love and honor and cherish each other. In fact, I think she is more beautiful as she ages, but that is another story for another time.
She brings in our wedding photo (above) and shows it off. A few folks gasped in shock and disbelief- I do not look anything like the young man they see in the photograph. I know this. My wife knows this. They do not until they see it for themselves- and they cannot help but react.
In a society where youthfulness and beauty reigns supreme, I do not fit the category yet am not much (mostly) bothered by the fact I look my age. Why? I am more than what I look like. And I am being transformed into looking more like Jesus as I prepare to one day leave this earth for what lies beyond it.
Would I like to look like the handsome movie stars of the day? Who wouldn't! Do I miss a thinner body, thicker hair, a firmer jawline, and less wrinkles around my eyes? Yep. but it is not my focus. Besides, even if it were my passion for it to happen, Ty Pennington himself wouldn't have enough tools to transform me!
Now, I try to stay in shape, eat (mostly) right (OK- I love Nutella and anything caramel), and dress my best.
But I also know that physical training is of value but not as much as spiritual exercise. My inner peace and growing graciousness and thankfulness as I age comes from the life I have led and the God that I love.
He's been faithful over and over again in hardship, kind and forgiving in my failures, and encouraging about my future. His words found in my Bible give me direction, conmfort, joy and hope. Not just for now but for later as well. One day, I'll have a new body, new life, new future. But for now, I am what I am- and God's grace is sufficient for me- sagging, aging body and all.
(Family photographs copyright Mark Taft.)