Whatever. That’s the point.
I’m turning less young this week, and I've been learning…slowly..painfully slowly… the art of letting my SELF...go.
Before I ever again look at a woman and think “sad how she’s let herself go,” I’m going to lean in (which, granted, might cause her some alarm) and see what’s behind the eyes.
I’ll look for things like...
The sparkle of joy that comes with freedom from obsessing over fashion trends, from running a politically-correct check on every syllable, from conforming to cultural ideas of cool (which are, by the way, initiated and enforced by our youngest members, who are gloriously creative but who also have way more time on their hands than they ever will again - no offense intended, young friends).
The laughter of a person who has stopped trying to pretend she didn’t just trip (literally or figuratively) and just enjoys the humanity of it all. Chuckles at the past, because what’s done is done. Smiles at the present because imperfect is more interesting, and good & bad both pass quickly. Sideways grins at the future because it’s a mystery, and mystery is fun.
The boldness of an artist who doesn’t have time to waste or words to mince, but has something to say, to share, and is determined to be about it.
The courage to walk a different way, to risk being misunderstood by her peers, criticized by the peanut gallery, laughed at by the young, or condescended to by the old.
The inward peace of a soul who knows her destination, and
the wisdom of one who recognizes the silliness of our performing.
When I observe these things in a person, I know I’ve met someone who has made some real progress in letting go of SELF-ness and all its derivatives: self-consciousness, self-pity, self-centeredness, self-reliance…
And, ah, it is so inspiring to meet free people!
Here we are in the presence of GREATNESS as we walk across this magnificent stage, but don't we completely miss the show when all we can think about is whether or not our make up is still in place (applies to men, too, figuratively), or whether people are watching or approving or laughing or not?
May we grow free as we grow older. In doing so, we will actually grow younger, because bondage accelerates aging.
As my friend and worship director said from the pulpit recently:
You are not nearly as big a deal as you think you are. :)
On the other hand, you and I have the potential to leave a serious footprint here for the kingdom of God, if we can just keep ourSELVES out of the way.