Monday, October 14, 2013

In a new light (True colors?)

Most days, my graying hair and crinkling face don't bother me much.

Even when someone near and dear suggested in late August that I should consider coloring my hair, because the gray is showing, I confidently responded that I know I have gray, but I'm OK with it.

Since that time, however ... new light has been shed on the matter.

First was a picture taken at the end of September. Sure enough, my hair looked grayer than I'd ever seen it. Hmmmmmm. Is it time?

A couple of days later, the flourescent lighting in the bathroom began to flicker. When we changed out the tubes, the new ones were white rather than the warm, yellow-tinted hue. And the result in the mirror is Ms. Mousy Gray!

I truly have no idea what the real color is or how bad it looks.

And that's when I realized: Does it even matter?

I wouldn't say that I always like my hair (and overall appearance), but I'm generally quite OK with it. And I have little faith that spending more money or time on it would make me like it more. Maybe that's the point: To some degree I realize that, even though I want to feel good about my appearance, it's not the most important thing. And results seldom seem worth the cost or effort.

At the same time, for someone so unwilling to spend much time or money on my appearance, I do think (or worry -- or at least wonder) about it more than I think I should. I think it has more to do with insecurity than actual vanity. I don't even dream of being beautiful (well, OK, I can dream), but I do want to avoid looking bad. And that's where the awareness of graying hair, droopy eyelids and increasing evidence of aging come back in. Still, as in so many areas, for today, I can't see changing from the way I am.

Besides, aren't we always told that it's what's on the inside that counts? Ouch. Maybe that's why I get distracted by the outward appearance -- because I don't want to look within. Appearance is superficial, but what's inside is the heart of the matter. And I'm so aware of the flaws and imperfections there.

Meanwhile, a friend suggests that instead of focusing on what I see as imperfections and lack of symmetry and balance and uniform color, why not marvel at God's creative artistry?

I've been contemplating this subject for more than a week, and I still can't bring it to a conclusion. But I'm ready to move on.

Certainly this is not just about gray hair and wrinkles. It's about life.

The thing I am most aware of is that I spend too much time thinking about me and not enough caring about and doing with and for others. Fortunately, working on this is pushing me into faith and prayer -- and action.

Trust God. Serve God.

Lord, if you have a message to speak from this, please let me get out of the way and Your word shine through, to Your glory.

May I remember that what matters most is what's inside. If the heart and soul are cheerful and filled with love and gratitude toward God, the light of His spirit will shine.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 2ook at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:25-34)

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