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These lines across our faces

All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I've been
And how I got to where I am

--from The Story by Brandi Carlile

During the early days of the Olympics, GM aired a commercial for its hybrids, but I was captivated much more by the song playing than the automobiles. The singer's voice was arresting and I loved the first four lines, the idea that the ways our faces change are not to be lamented but evidence of the stories of who we are--stories to be told and embraced.

Several years ago, I turned 40. My face has changed some over the last few years. There's deeper lines, some smaller ones that weren't there before and my skin's lost some of its elasticity. But for me, these last few years have been wonderful. I am grateful for the experience I've gained and the changes God's woven in me. And I'm looking forward to 50. And 60. And 70.

I've been lucky because I've had some female friends whose lives make me look forward to growing older. One is my mother. In her 70s, she is still one of the youngest people I know. Her wisdom is deep and her love for God fierce. She is a force with which to be reckoned, one of those dangerous women who turn the wheel of history. Then there is my best friend, who lives a continent's width away from me. She may be a grandmother with grandchildren my kids' ages, but when I saw her only a few weeks ago, she was beautiful--even my honesty-striken five-year-old son says she doesn't look like a grandmother. She plays tennis against women younger than me (and wins) and her thirst for God is deeper than it was when I met her, which I didn't think was possible. She relentlessly pursues truth and examines herself in its light. And the way she loves is extraordinary. She, too, is a dangerous woman. These two women have stories of great worth, and they stir an eagerness in me for what is to come in this life of walking with God.

I get that to almost half the women out there, being in your 40s is young. But to those of you out there to whom that (or even the 50s, 60s or 70s) seems old, don't go there. With the changing of our faces comes the changing of our stories, the deeper weaving of them into the Story, which brings an eternalness to the here-and-now. And that makes these stories--even the lines etched by sorrow and pain--good stories.

(Image: me)


Don Hendricks said…
Beautiful expression. This was the summer of 58 and 55 for us. All the things you said are true, but the worlds lies are so strong. We can't get past the feelings of loss as we age, like being gradually devalued. Going to my reunion deepened this sense of passing time.

Questing Parson said…
Is not life's greatest blessing to grow contented within our own skin?
Anonymous said…
Carmie--you make me feel so good, even if your report is very highly exaggerated. It is good to be seen through the eyes of a friend like you. And as I said when you visited, and it is true, you looked better than ever when you came. I couldn't see any wrinkles. But my eyes are not all they used to be :)
And you continue to be the most dangerous woman I know.

your best friend always, Susie
Carmen Andres said…
don, you are so right about the lies of our culture. it's everywhere and i know of that sense of loss.

and parson, yes!
Carmen Andres said…
oh, susie, it's not exaggerated. in the kingdom, perhaps we see each other better than we ourselves. we know the dark places in ourselves, but the parts of us God owns more fully than others somehow seem brighter in the eyes of others. go figure. you may have dark places, but the glory of God in you is so very brilliant that i have a difficult time seeing them, if i can see them at all.