I saw a photo of me this morning. Now, I avoid cameras. I have never been one to gloat over a collection of images, and I’m a terrible self-critic.
I looked middle-aged.
So? I am middle-aged – assuming I live to be a hundred (and two.) The grey hair is coming in with a vengeance; the crow’s feet and softened jawline are apparent. In my Plain dress, I look like someone’s Oma.
And that’s not bad.
I wish my hair would hurry up already and just turn silver. This mixture of colour and texture is sometimes hard to manage. I can’t do anything about the skin. It’s really in good shape for my age and the kind of life I’ve lived, which has included quite a bit of UV exposure. My teeth are all mine! That’s a blessing!
So I don’t look dewy and youthful. God blessed me with an interesting life. I chose a way of serving Christ’s mission that shut out the vain ways of the world. So I have no right to complain that I don’t look like one of those models on the cover of an Amish bonnet-ripper romance novel. (These are the Christian equivalent of Harlequin, and while some of the writers may get the details right, no one acts that way in real life, Amish or otherwise.)
When old friends and my family ask, “Why did you do this?” I have to make the analogy of becoming a nun. The old-fashioned kind of nun, that is, in a habit, keeping the discipline, and pretty much looking and acting like all the other nuns. And it’s hard to tell nuns apart until you get to know them, and their personalities shine through. I am not wearing my personality on the outside of my skin. Those who knew me in the past would say that I am hiding the real me, and that might be true, but only in the case of hiding the real me from those who have no business knowing me. I am not buying my personality in a store. I am not living in the world. I chose to follow Jesus in a very special way. I am still me, but I hope I am becoming the better part of me, in Jesus Christ.