as a mother

Comedian Ali Wong has a short bit about hoarding and helping her mom clean her house.  Tensions ran high when her mom wouldn't let go of a calculator manual.

"You never know when you might need this!"

"Buuuutttt, I do know that I'm gonna have to clean all this $#&@ up when you diiiieee."

It was funny until I thought about my own basement.

I pictured my kids, many years from now, standing trapped in the middle of my crap, still in shock from learning about our financial situation, feeling totally duped.  And then pitying me because I must have been shamefully hiding problems and bad habits and baggage all these years.  Eventually it would all rot into annoyance because cleaning everything out was taking forever.

The last thing I want for my children is to not know the real me.  Ben and I have worked too hard to make our family and our home the safest places for them to be and dream.  

I want them to have a broader, more accurate world view.  I want them to know that owning and renting are both respectable housing options.  I want them to be thoughtful about their choices.  I want them to be unafraid of vulnerability and course-correction.  I want them to make the time to know and love themselves as their Creator does.  And hopefully these things will all converge to create the authentic lives I desire for each of them.

Encouraging them to be brave or be responsible or to confidently be themselves in a resistant culture will have no traction if I'm not doing the same thing.  So here I am, owning my crap, taking big steps to fix things, and staying true to my values regardless of how upstream they are.  All in quite plain view.

 

an open letter to my white hair

Dear White Hair,

Yes, I'm talking to all six of you.  The three musketeers lining my part, Suzie Stick-Out at my left temple, and Misters Long-and-Slow-and-Steady-Wins-the-Race there in the back.

I'm not sure how I feel about you.  I mean, I'm pretty excited about hitting my forties and my friend told me the fifties are even better. My body is loosening up a bit (Today's Special is: "Euphemism") but still fairly in check, I guess. But then there's these - yous - that are testing my aversion to prints. I'm all about solids. The contrast against my black hair is a bit concerning. In my mid-thirties I dreamed about you guys emerging in a cool Bonnie Raitt, Rogue conversation-piece kind of way.  It's not likely.  And that's okay.  I've even embraced your rebel friend that plays whack-a-mole on my cheek. A quick tweeze takes care of that.  But I know you guys aren't going anywhere, so it's time for me to decide how I'm going to handle you.

I feel like a hypocrite if I don't at least try to embrace you for a bit, feel out the idea of the salt and pepper I love so much on handsome actors. (As if.) You've seen my house. You know I won't be able to nurse my roots if I start dyeing. So I'll give you some time. Maybe a year. And then we can revisit.

But in that year, let's make a deal. I will leave you alone, but I need you to grow in quietly and gently. So as to not draw me to vanity and away from more important concerns. Be a collective nudge towards progress and away from complacency. A whisper of urgency to listen, to strive, to obey, to comfort, to relax, to obey, to forgive. I'm a visual learner, so I'm thinking if I see some of you everyday, lovingly aligning yourselves with your dark brown counterparts (I'm talking to you, short, stiff crimpies in the front), I'll get the daily reminder I need to face and walk in the direction our Lord has intended for me, in a less Chicken-Little-The-Sky-Is-Falling kind of way.

 

Deal?

 

I look forward to receiving your response.

Many thanks,

Leah

pro-ageing excellence

This ad stopped me in my tracks one night as my husband and I were enjoying a mid-week stroll around the city. "Complete age control". How a company could consciously claim that is beyond me. Even the word "anti-ageing" is a modification, surely to bring your attention to that evil, evil word age

But it's not, though.

You know that, right?

 

I am turning thirty-nine this fall. I'll say it again slowly so you know that I'm not afraid of it.

Thur. Tee. Nine.

My skin knows it and gravity reminds me all the time. My body certainly does not operate the same way that it used to. But it's the less tangible parts of me that are increasing in value. My growing hunger for wisdom leads me to make better choices with my time than the ones when I was young and invincible and stupid. My threshold for uncertainty is evolving as I embrace different kinds of risks and avoid others. The shape of my heart is changing, maybe expanding, to better accommodate the Holy Spirit, to include a greater understanding of the world and the people in it, and to squeeze out complacency.

I am a year away from my optometrist's kill-date for glasses, but the way I see the world is much, much clearer now and that could only have developed with the time I've spent on this planet. From some angles, the clarity is gray and blurred for the things that I now know I have to surrender my control and understanding of. From others, it is sharper, where absolute truths and the stories behind the stories have finally been embraced.

There is no drive-thru pick up for these things at twenty-nine. So don't dwell there. Be pro-ageing. I'm not saying don't wash your face. Just don't subscribe to the false idea that there is less joy, less wholeness, less awesomeness on the other side of youth. 

The silver-haired head is a crown of glory,
If it is found in the way of righteousness. (Proverbs 16:31)

Wisdom is with aged men, and with length of days, understanding. (Job 12:12)