A friend is visiting me for the next couple of days. When I look at her I think she is still beautiful. When she was a woman in her early twenties she was beautiful, but she was the last one who knew it. That probably made her even more beautiful, because her spirit was so joyful, her generosity so freely given to those in her world; she didn’t expect for acclaims to come to her.
I mentioned to her that she had a “latter beauty.” (She is about to turn 70 years of age.) She smiled and said her daughter had recently said the same thing to her. I think that same spirit and joy of her youth is still with her, but has settled into a peace and contentment only a well-lived life can bring. She knows who she is, and has been true to herself in her choices in life. She was a good wife and mother, and friend of God. The outer latter beauty reveals the essence of inner beauty brought about by gratitude and walking with God.
I was thinking about this as I walked through the grocery store today. So many people would make eye contact with me, and even if preoccupied with their own thoughts, would break out in a small smile when I acknowledged them with my own smile. But there were a few that had their heads down and a mouth puckered and hardened in a thin line. I saw no happiness or contentment there. My heart saddened for them.
I thought about the image the media has portrayed about human beauty. It refuses to acknowledge the ageing process, and praises youth to the point that even that is airbrushed to perfection. Have you ever seen a more mature person who breaks out in a smile, their face lights up in love and acceptance, and how they seem to transform before your very eyes? You are at a loss of their age or actual features. They became beautiful right there before you.
Now that is something that would be priceless if you could bottle it. But the cost usually is victory over suffering and self, a life at peace with and trust in God. Realizing the true values in life.
Colossians 3:12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
Now that is real beauty.