Sunday, November 7, 2010
The Beauty of Gray Hair
My best friend of sixteen years has had gray hair, or at least a shock of gray hair, for most of the time that I have known her. Her shock was really very pretty. I used to give her a very hard time for worrying about the fact that she had gray hair. Then one day, I saw enough gray hairs on my own head to literally shock me. I couldn't believe it. How dare they land on my head. When I mentioned this to my friend, she just laughed. I told her that it was okay for her to have gray hair but it was another story all together if I had gray hair. For some reason, I could only see myself as a young person never changing. I couldn't see myself aging.
Our society seems to think that youth and perfection, whatever that is, are to be strived for. We dye our hair, have plastic surgery, try to dress way too young and pretend that all is perfect in our world. I wonder what we think we are changing by hiding our real authentic lives and selves.
Growing up, I had this vision of what my life would look like. It was probably some homogenized cookie cutter version of what I thought perfection was. It has taken some time and some life experience to rethink things. I remember seeing Bette Davis being interviewed on the Today show when she was quite old. She had obviously had plastic surgery and had dyed her hair, she had thick blue eye shadow on and it was really quite a sad spectacle to see. I thought about the fact that she was probably someones grandmother. My grandmother had gray curly hair. She had all of the appropriate wrinkles. She didn't wear makeup often and when she did it was very light. She was soft and comforting and safe.
Our lives, the ups and downs of them, and the process of aging leave their marks. I don't really think about them being scars as much as smoothing away our rough edges. Like a saddle that is broken in, life's experiences make us more supple. They make us more understanding of the importance of life.
Facing the beast of addiction has certainly stripped away a lot of unnecessary worries. Things that used to bother my husband and I in the past, are hardly worth mentioning. Things of beauty that we used to miss in the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, are now noticed and savored. One of the gifts of this struggle is vision with clarity.
If you've ever seen the photos of Mother Teresa you will see many many wrinkles. You will see a body which is hunched over from years of living a life not filled with luxury. What you will see is a radiating smile or a peaceful prayerful face. I think we miss the beauty in our everyday lives. Beauty is not about perfection but more about trying to do the right thing in spite of the difficulties. Beauty is in the day in and day out prayers. Beauty is in the everyday hum drum. Beauty is when your faith grows just a little bit. Beauty is in even the tiniest miracle. It is all around us. The more we reach out to each other in our struggles, the more we learn to love. The more we love, the closer we are to God. The closer we are to God, the more peaceful we become.
I'm by no means happy that my son is an addict. But, I guess I had to hit bottom too, to understand so many things. So, today, I am thankful for all of the lessons I am learning. I am thankful for my gray hairs and wrinkly neck, because it means that I have lived. I am thankful that I am learning to look at souls instead of bodies. I am thankful for more things than I can list here. I pray for my son to fight his addiction every single day. I pray for all of you who life is smoothing away your rough edges, and I pray for Henry. In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen
Posted by Hattie Heaton at 6:05 PM