Today is my birthday, and I’m 37. (Actually I am posting this 2 days after I wrote it, so Friday, July 13th was my real birthday) I know some of you are thinking, “Wow, she is old!” and others of you may be thinking, “I remember when I was that young…” Age is what it is and there is no changing it, no matter how much botox, mommy make-over work, and age-defying moisturizers are applied. Honestly, I kind of hesitated to tell you my age because I know it could discredit me one way or the other, depending on who you are and where you find yourself on the age spectrum in relation to me. The scriptures say, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you’re young [or old?!?]. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity.” 1 Timothy 4:12. Paul, who was Timothy’s mentor and the author of these words, was apparently familiar with our human tendency to measure ourselves and others by artificial expectations of maturity. He gave Timothy a different and wholly counter-cultural measuring tool: the quality of a person’s character and life legacy.
I’ve had a front row seat to some people who have not handled the changes of aging well. I also know some people who are aging well and without fear of rejection. When I say “aging well,” I don’t mean they look 20 at 40, per se, but rather they live more alive, content, in touch with their heart, confident, and free at 40 than they did at 20. Their lives, by word, demeanor, love, faith, and integrity reveal an inner depth and stability. And I just have to say, that is really beautiful to see. Grey hair grown through the courage of risking to love and wrinkles acquired through daring to still laugh in the midst of pain trump perfect hair and flawless skin in my book any day.
My birthday prayer today is for each of us to grow in grace as we age, no matter how many years we count.