Friday, January 8, 2010

Faces of Stone

Have you ever really looked at old people? Like a lot of them? I grew up in Armenian church, so I became an expert in interpreting old people. The human form and it's aging is fascinating to me. Recently, I've become more in touch with the idea of my own mortality. We get old. At 25, my body is starting to change and each day I look more and more like my mother, which isn't a bad thing at all, but it is different. While I know, I hope, I have a long way to go, it's made me think about how people choose to cope with the process of aging.
Angry old man by Souljacker.
As a young girl, I studied the faces and personalities of the old people around me. Partly out of fear and the rest out of a morbid curiosity. I mean, they were EVERYWHERE. Some old people are really scary. They hate kids and their faces all look like that guy on the bitter beer face commercials.
Then there are some who make you feel warm and safe just looking into their eyes. There is a peace and comfort in some and with others a bitterness and sharpness. As I studied, I developed a theory. I came to realize that as we age the soul of a person gets closer to the surface. You can read it in the lines of their face. Those who age gracefully and those who don't. There are those with laugh lines, and others that seem to have faces of stone and as life has caused their souls to grow bitter and their hearts cold, their outside seems to more and more reflect their insides. Youth is beautiful because it's full of potential and is unmarred by the sometimes unfair, sometimes wonderful, sometimes beautiful world we live in. I've realized the older we get, the harder it is to hide behind your youth. We are forced to take responsibility for ourselves. For who we are becoming and what we have become. Youth and ignorance are a perfect excuse, but it only works for so long. At some point we have to take an active roll in who we are becoming, or we'll blink and life will have passed, and we won't be ready to face the reality in the mirror.

C.S. Lewis said, "You don't have a soul, you are a soul, you have a body." I couldn't say it better if I tried. The essence of who you are is so pure, but that's not all there is to the story. There is a myth out there. A myth that you have to just "discover" who you are. In the movie "Hitch" there is this line that I love. Hitch is telling a dweeby guy that he needs a new pair of shoes. The guy says the shoes aren't really "him." Hitch says, "You is a very fluid concept right now." Who you are is a fluid concept, it is not set in stone. As life happens it must be not only discovered, but developed. Each day, each decision I make, I shape the image of who I am (aka my soul), the life I will lead and ultimately what image my soul will have as it begins to peek through the shell it's incased in.

(and yes I WILL be wearing this when I'm 90)

I hope to be the kind of woman who's eyes tell a story of grace, of love, of peace, and of acceptance of who I am and who I'm not. I hope to age gracefully with Christ. To have my soul become more like Him, so children won't be afraid of me and so I won't resent who I become. I hope to maintain a sense of humor, to continue to take myself less seriously and choose to care about things that matter and get over things that don't. It's going to take work. It's going to take faith and it's going to take time, if I'm lucky, it'll take a life time, but it's something I'm going to start today. I'm going to start by evaluating myself honestly. By asking others to. By recognizing and accepting and changing what I need to. I'm going to start by spending more time with Christ.

What are you doing to develop your soul?

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