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.