Creases and lines

Sometimes I cannot wait to grow older. I know, you don’t hear that spoken often from a person’s mouth these days, much less a woman’s. But it’s true. That thought most recently came to me as Country Man and I pulled into the small Sunday service, and I watched an older woman smile freely and wave as we searched for a place to park. Looks like someone saved us a spot, he said, as we squeezed into an opening five cars from the front of the building.

At 27, I am slowly beginning to notice the subtle hints of not being 20 anymore. Like the teeny tiny creases around my eyes and hands that were certainly not there three years ago …

I talk with my older friends, some silver-haired and some not, and there is an undeniable shine lighting up their eyes that draws me to them. Behind that shine, surrounded by many creases and folds, lies years of experiences that have formed into wisdom. It’s in witnessing their wisdom that I am not afraid to grow older.

Not every older person has that shine in their eyes that speaks wisdom, however. Some old people are just plain rude, perhaps due to many years of harboring old offenses while not acknowledging the pain they have caused others. They are calloused, rough and sometimes cruel.

As I write this, I think of last night’s Lenten service I helped serve. A woman in her late 70s (we’ll call her Norma) impatiently hands me her empty styrofoam coffee cup, unsmiling, asking (demanding) for more. I smile, and say I’m on it.

South Dakota goat

Norma, in her own way

I am learning there are old fools and wise young, bright eyes and dark ones, too.Β I think of the energetic homecoming queen a few miles west, with a heart set on fire to love all she meets. I also think of the 80 year-old in the same direction, who is easily angered, speaks harshly, and has a way of cutting people down, especially his only son.

Last night as we were driving home, I looked at my husband, and to those lines forming around his eyes. I felt thankful for this man and those wrinkles and crinkles and large, calloused working hands.

I also thought about before we left the church, when Norma surprised me by coming up to the kitchen once more, thanking everyone for the bars and coffee and all the work. I thought about how she just stood in front of the counter for a while, watching, with a hint of a smile hiding in those pursed, unreleased lips, and that maybe a little light shone behind those eyes after all …


66 thoughts on “Creases and lines

  1. Well said.. can’t say I’m too afraid of being old either. And when that little voice starts trying to get me to worry about the state this world will probably be in when I am, I just tell it to shut up and not worry about it. I also hope to not be a bitter, grumpy, mean old person, that’ll take some of His help some days ,most likely.
    Happy Monday

  2. This is all so very, very true. I happen to like the signs of aging, I always feel there’s a story behind every line and wrinkle – some happy, some sad, some painful. But each carries a story. I wish society wouldn’t be so hell-bent on erasing these life lines with Botox and fillers and such, and would see the beauty they behold. No laugh lines? No signs of laughter. No smile lines? No signs of joy. Sad. I say – wear them with pride!

    • I sure am glad we have women like you to show us a different perspective on aging. I see some of women botox-ed up, and while that’s their decision, it can look so unnatural. But there is no denying a strong pressure to erase aging. I think of the recent movie out on video, which I haven’t seen, called How Do You Know with Reece Witherspoon. The description of the movie says something like, “*name* is 27 and feeling past her prime …” 27 and past her prime?! Yikes.

  3. Lovely, and what a insightful way to look at aging, since it’s something we all end up doing (if we’re lucky). I think you’ll find what I have–the older we get, the richer life becomes, because now we have experience and wisdom to bring to the table.

    • That understanding is slowly beginning to unfold, and I appreciate all women who pursue wisdom and share it with those around them. But I am finding it also comes through experiencing pain, that we decide to allow ourselves to become embittered by the hardships, or embrace it and learn from it. During this season of life, choosing to embrace it has not always been easy, so I look to those with have done so before me.

  4. “Not every older person has that shine in their eyes that speaks wisdom”
    Well, I am certain that when you’re older, you will definitely have eyes full of light, love and wisdom!

    What beautiful words and wisdom in this post. There is a kind of freedom that comes with getting older, I think. Either you embrace it and fully enjoy it or choose to be full of regret and bitterness. I think I know what I choose.

    And wrinkles? Well, I gave up worrying about them last year. Along with my gray hairs. I’m letting it go. There’s something about turning 40 that makes you go, what the hell, life’s too short. Bring it on, baby! πŸ™‚ We need to cherish getting older and just be grateful we have a chance to grow old.

  5. Interesting post. As a gray-haired (but not quite ancient) lady myself, I feel compelled to make a few points. I’ll use my own family as an example.

    My mother started to develop early onset Alzheimer’s in her mid 50’s. Because I lived far from home for nearly a decade, I was the first person in my immediate family to notice something was “wrong.” My parents seldom visited me in my state (it was easier for me to go to theirs) but at one of their rare visits I soon noticed my mother was speaking much less and observing the goings on with a slightly annoyed or befuddled expression. That was SO not her usual personality, but it seems everyone in the family just chalked it up to her going through menopause or old age or something. I didn’t buy it. (And yes, about two years later she was diagnosed with the disease)

    Another dear friend’s husband … one of the most thoughtful, albeit quiet guys I’ve ever known … suddenly, at age 60 started getting overly critical of his adult children and wife. Huh? Outsiders thought him combative and rude, though we all knew different. Three years later he died … a shell of a man … from a rare form of a dementia-related disease.

    Lastly, I’ll use myself as an example. Disabled at 40, at age 53 I’m pretty sure I look perfectly “normal” to the average Joe, yet I’m in constant pain 24/7 and have been for over 14 years. I know that’s not an excuse to be snappy or demanding, but sometimes I’ve just reached my limit of my ability to cope with very simple things …. like standing in line at the deli while someone talks to their wife on the cell phone while everyone patiently waits for the two of them to decide which cheese they want and exactly how much of it. Or standing in the check-out line while a frugal mom rifles through her 40-pound purse looking for her (expired) 20 cent coupon for that quart of melting ice cream. Yes, I’m afraid I’m not smiling brightly when it’s my turn to check out or place my order. Still, I always say “please, thank-you” and “have a great day” … even though there are times when I’m pretty sure I’ve long since forgotten what a “great day” feels like any more.

    So be careful what you think! Sometimes we don’t know how much we don’t know about what’s going on behind a stony face. If you really want to take this a step farther, just say a quick prayer of comfort for them. That’s what I try to do when I meet someone who appears really unhappy, gruff or angry! I figure they need all the grace they can get! πŸ˜‰

  6. Oh I remember too being young and now into my 70s I do try to emulate the lovely older women I met. My life has been so good that I have nothing to be mean or miserable about (except the untimely death of my soulmate). I do spend a great deal of time just smiling and being happy.
    Perhaps those older, rude women have had hard lives and they envy you yours. I know from reading your blogs that you are a caring person. May I suggest that you give an extra bright smile and a thank you to the rude woman. It may be the only smile she has received all day.

    • For some reason this comment was in my spam until now?! Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. I think sometimes mean people deep down don’t think they deserve to have kindness extended toward them, and although at times when my day is not going so well, I do my best. But I think even the best of us have those thoughts of, come on, just be nice! when someone is grouchy, especially in a situation where you are trying to serve them and make their day better anyhow. While I agree some people need the smile that day, sometimes you just gotta get over your own crabbiness and be a decent person… which Norma did that night, to my pleasant surprise!

  7. Very insightful. I don’t think aging provides wisdom. It provides perspective, if we are open to letting go of the things that don’t serve us and to be willing to see the world in a new way. Letting go/forgiving/being open/embracing people is so tough for some people. But the rewards are amazing and energizing and powerful. Marianne Williams once said that there are only two human emotions: love and fear. If you aren’t coming from love you are coming from fear. I believe that.

  8. your blog name is very attractive….I have never been to your place…but can get the flavour of that place through your blog…thanks…keep on posting

  9. excellent, I like it when you report your observations & your own situation, and responsibilities…..looking at Renee’s comment I find that interesting.
    Of course there’s a well known verse “The FEAR of The Lord is the beginning of wisdom” – I’d stand by that.

  10. Love this post! How insightful. Being of the grandmotherly age (although I’m not a grandma), I think age has taught me patience. I see young mothers being snappy with their children, and I want to say: “enjoy these days. Too soon your children will be grown.”.

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog and commenting today. I look forward to reading more of your posts, and I hope you’ll visit my blog again soon!

    • Thanks Dianna! That is so true, the lesson in patience. I think of my three pups now, and how when we first got Milo, I wanted to bring him back! He whined, cried, potty-ed in the house, ran away, didn’t listen, etc. He drove me to the brink. But now I see how much he has taught me patience and love, for who he is and always will be πŸ™‚ Good to see ya!

  11. I’m with you! In the last couple of years, I’ve discovered an incredible peace with myself that has been lacking for the better part of my life. Now, “pushing 30,” as my aunts recently told me (I still have a few years, by the way!), I’m becoming more comfortable in my own skin than I ever thought I would be.

    The daughter of a truck driver and a housewife, I was always encouraged to pursue the same goals. My decision to attend college was met with scorn; why become educated when I could become pregnant? Now, with a college degree and in my third year as the source of a second income, I finally feel ready to embrace the role of parenthood with the wisdom and maturity I’ve seen my parents grow into after they started a family as a very young couple. With nearly eighteen years separating my sister and me, I’ve watched my own parents grow up, which in turn, has taught me many invaluable lessons.

    If my children don’t remember me before my hair started to silver (I barely remember that me anymore!) and if they remember me as always having laugh lines and crow’s feet, maybe one day they’ll realize that it’s not because I was just “always old,” but because I learned to respect myself and laugh at myself before I tried to teach them those very lessons.

  12. I used to get upset when I saw a gray hair or a wrinkle forming. I didn’t want to be old. But then I realized that there’s a difference between being old and getting older. One is a state of mind and the other is just a number.

  13. A lovely post. I remember seeing those changes in my own face and how they almost startled me at first. But wise people know that wrinkles are to be embraced, not erased. I’m glad you’re among the wise.

  14. Once again you have slowed us down and made it simple for us to think and appreciate the value in our living legacies that still walk among us. I appreciate that, which is one of the reasons I look forward to reading new posts on your blog. I would love to be making a difference with my blog hopefully as much as you obviously are. My patience is not always at its best but by the grace of God I will continue the journey. My perspective has changed as much as I have in growing older and wiser through life experiences. Throughout my life I have witnessed God’s presence always with me carrying me, guiding me, keeping me company, teaching me, comforting me, forgiving me, laughing with me (He has a sense of humour, you know), being patient with me, picking me up when I stumble and fall. It is as though he is wrapping these life experiences together with a heavenly ribbon called wisdom. The older I get, the more I appreciate every second He is giving me and each life lesson I have the opportunity to share. There is nothing more precious than life and the elders in this world who are like dusty books hoping to be read, shared and not forgotten. The one fear I have regarding old age is not that I will forget (although I worry about that even at the young age of 55) but that I will be forgotten. In the Holy Bible (I Kings 3:3-15) we see a young man who obviously has learned to recognize the great value in wisdom and understanding, turns to God with his request and it pleases God so much that He blesses him with even more than he asked for. Wisdom is available to all who ask from God but for sure the longer we live, the more opportunities to grow wise beyond our years.

    Thank you.

    • What a lovely, insightful comment. What stood out to me is when you talked about “being forgotten”. I don’t want you to be forgotten, or any other person. We cannot forget our elders, nor should they submit to the world’s view of them, which is why I appreciate my older friends, who are still out there in the world making a difference. We need to see more of that!

  15. I just came across your blog, but at 26 I’m seeing the same things you are. You put them very nicely, in a way I had not thought about before. Where I fear age, you look forward to it. That’s just a lovely perspective & something for me to think about.

    • Thanks! And that is so true, churches are full of them, ha! But I also have three that come to mind right now who are involved with reservation and prison ministries, when many would have said “we’re too old for that now.” My hope is I will never think too old for those opportunities.

  16. The best part about old people is the stories that they tell, about how adventurous they used to be, and the looks on their faces as they tell them.You get so drawn in.

    • So true! Reminds me of when I was about 10 or so, and my Mom would have my sister and I go down to the elderly neighbor’s house to sit and talk with him. We begrudgingly went, because the thought of war stories did not appeal to us, but found we loved spending time with him. He died later that year, and I look back thankful to have a mom who recognized a lonely old man in need of conversation.

  17. I say we should wear those lines and creases like a badge of honor! (And as I say this, I have a plethora of creams and lotions on my dresser to prevent these same lines :)).
    Great post!

  18. Listen…I know a guy who is involved in Time Travel……maybe I should introduce you two.

    I liked this post. I feel older than I was in college. In college, I thought I was so old, but I’m learning and experiencing so many new things in my 23rd year of life. I like knowing more and feeling more like an adult.

  19. Another lovely post by you! I think you are an old soul sometimes… you understand much of life at such a young age.

    Perspective is such an interesting topic. Until you experience AND have the opposite of that experience, how can you have understanding? We see bright eyes and smiles… which we admire and praise. We see dark eyes and a grumpy frown and we judge and don’t like what we see. Yet, how can we understand without looking more deeply? Isn’t there something to be gleaned from every life experience? Do we not have something to gain from knowing the grumpy, rude person, just as we do from the happy, carefree smileaholic? Life experiences and time are the portals of wisdom. I always admired people who were wise… people who saw the silver lining in every situation… people who left an impression on me or caused me to think more deeply. That person could be a young or an elderly person. It could have been a highly successful and worldly individual, or a simple country person. Maybe it was a friend wearing the latest fashion and always showing impeccable manners, or perhaps a stranger wearing something weird and smelling bad sitting next to you on the plane (yes, that happened once). All of these people are the experience that leads us to wisdom.

    At 49 I am embracing all of life. I am thankful for the grumpy, rude person, just as much as the positive, encouraging person. Some of the most pivotal people in my life were either 1)very compassionate and kind, showing great empathy, or 2) tough as nails, cutting me to the quick saying “Do you see what you’re doing?”. Both types of personality were what I needed to grasp a better understanding of the situation. I try to understand what I am to learn from each person I meet. It’s not so much about presentation… it’s about the gift . It’s not even about having wrinkles or varicose veins, or facial hair, or an embarrassing age number. It’s about the deep understanding… that evolves from the experience!

    • Great points – thank you for sharing! And what you have said is in part why I like spending time with people of more experience than myself πŸ™‚ Much to learn from them! Sometimes I see a person’s life and have a desire to go in that direction; other times I see it as a what not to do. Like unforgiveness, or bitterness.

  20. I love, love this blog, mistakenly stumbled on it. Aging is what I look forward to , though I am 26 and I must confess I have come to have deep respect for my parents now. When I was a teenager , I had a wild time not wanting to see things from their angle , but now with being a Christian and maturity , I see they have been right all along.
    p.s: I blog at . it is an inspirational blog.

  21. Those lines are usually caused by smiles so I will take all I can get. Hope you have much to make those wrinkles and it is amazing how much fun us older people can be. Glad you realize and appreciate them. Happy Easter and many blessings to you and your family.

  22. I am learning there are old fools and wise young. Just want to add, there are also wise olds and young fools ! I’ve found some of us old fools, may not have it all together like we used too, but the wisdom we’ve gained is awesome, as I tell everyone I have earned every gray hair taking its root ! πŸ™‚ Like this blog, a very good post.

  23. I’m in my twenties as well, and I really am looking forward to middle age and onwards. I would like the warmth of starting a new family, and the serenity that comes only with age and experience. Also, I would love to retire and just sit on my porch and read all day.

  24. What a lovely blog you have here– a breath of fresh air. (Is the air especially fresh in South Dakota? It must be!)

    Your casual reference to serving at last night’s Lenten service (was it a mission?) made me feel great. Your reflections on “many years of harboring old offenses” gave me the chills– an important warning, that.

    And I liked how Norma surprised you at the end. I have to believe that happened in part because of your smile and your refusal to respond to rudeness with rudeness. Well done. I shall take a lesson from that.

    Love your photos–even the mud! Best wishes to you and Country Man! : )

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