At 51, I am getting old.  Not just “older” or “mature”…but let’s be honest, I am getting old.  Now don’t worry, I am perfectly fine with that.  In fact, I kind of get a kick out of looking at my wrinkles and figuring out who or what to blame for them.  I have the “smile wrinkles” like my dad…those give me joy.  I have the “marriage is sometimes hard” wrinkles…that I wear proudly, like a badge of honor.  I have the “I survived parenting…especially adolescence” wrinkles that make me sigh in disbelief and relief!  I have a few miscellaneous ones that I call “I worry too much and think too deeply” wrinkles that make me feel special and smart (don’t worry; I know I delude myself at times)!  Of course I have the “I don’t always eat or drink the right things” wrinkles that serve as a reminder that I should do better in that area!  I have never understood why people would want to get a face lift and erase all those badges of honor that come with age!  It’s like throwing all your blue ribbons and trophies in the garbage.  It makes no sense to me!

Now I know there are people who struggle with getting old and my heart goes out to them.  Perhaps it is because they don’t feel they have accomplished all they wanted to accomplish and time is slipping away.  Maybe it is because youth has become their “currency” and they don’t feel valuable anymore!  Many people try to measure themselves up to the world’s standard of value, and that is youth!  Now don’t get me wrong, I love the energy and vitality of youth!  I would never have skipped that time of my life but I also don’t dread this time of my life either!  I am excited.  I love getting old!  There is such incredible value, beauty, and wisdom that can come with age. 

Here’s how I view aging: God designed our mortal bodies to begin to slip away as our immortal bodies begin to grow and gain in beauty and wisdom.  One day we will just step out of these old bags of wrinkles (that explains what is going on with major parts of my anatomy!) and emerge in all our eternal beauty! 

So what can we do to begin to view ourselves this way?  We need to fix our mind on that which doesn’t die…the immortal!  Work on what’s on the inside as well as on the outside!  God wants us to find balance in this life, yet never forget that our immortal souls will live forever! 

How can we do this?  In my view, begin to work on the fruits of the spirit.  This is the eternal beauty; these are what we take with us to heaven!  What are those fruits?  I do remember there are nine of them:  love, joy, peace, patience (that is a tough one for me!), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. 

There is a saying “you never see a hearse pulling a U-Haul.”  This reminds me that there is nothing I can take from this earth to eternity except that which I have learned from my experience here.  I want to grow in those fruits and become more like Christ everyday!

Aging, we have nothing to fear!  The wrinkles, the gray hair, the drooping, well you know what I mean; they are a signal that we are all one step closer to eternity!  I had better hurry up because I have a lot left to learn!

Blessings and a joyfully wrinkled smile…