Except that rubbing the oval brown smudge parked atop my right cheekbone wouldn't make it disappear, it could have been mistaken for dirt.
Euphemistically, a freckle, realistically, an age spot, the visible present, not exactly what I hoped for the morning marking my fiftieth year on the planet.
Seems surreal, gazing at a face once belonging to a wide-eyed little girl full of hopes, dreams, aspirations who used to lip sync by light of a Clairol makeup mirror tuned to the evening setting, the most flattery light for an acne-speckled prepubescent.
I did a lot of fantasizing back then. Heck, my entire life has been spent yearning for one out-of-reach fool notion after another, consistently aching to arrive someplace other than where I was. "Someday, I'll be famous. I'll attend the Oscars in a shimmering dress. I'll be invited on Johnny Carson and flash my straight, pearly whites, astounding viewers with my beauty and wit. Then, they'll see, the ugly duckling redhead became someone."
Time, a merchant coursing its wares through the body, transforms what once was into what is. I fancy if I were a tree, my age could be gathered simply counting rings now visible between chin and collarbone, begging the question, "Has she lived or merely existed in the essence called life?"
My reflection, morphing a half-century of expressions, experiences reminds me of time spent on things which now don't really matter: frenzied scurries to dust and vacuum, clean the window sills, organize the cabinets, in the short interim of infants napping. I would gladly trade the lines which fan like peacock feathers from the corners of my eyes to snuggle in momentary solace, babies' tiny fuzzy heads cradled beneath my chin.
I have plotted, prayed and planned to become "someone" even yet not totally defined all the while missing what had been called "now." Have I ignored my purpose while trying to find it? Regret, a second skin, an ever-present shackle, binds me to the past and I struggle to overcome.
When I lay my head down to rest, memory thumbnails warp into three-dimensional episodes, villainous characters even Steven Spielberg's special effects team couldn't reproduce. "Should have, what if" picture thoughts crisscross neuron streams calling to mind a myriad of mistakes, "You should have spent more time just 'being' with your kids. If you had been more relaxed, easier to come home to, Bill wouldn't have left. You really did ruin his life, you're lucky he stayed 20 years. You've spent most of your life depressed, sad, disappointed, why couldn't you just be happy?"
Whoever said, "Time flies when you're having fun?" Truth is, time flies even if you are not having fun. I thought it would take much longer to arrive at fifty; always thought I had tomorrow to live, to relax, to just 'be'. But, always aiming to find the allusive "thing" to validate my worth, I have spent five decades of tomorrows.
Certainly God, Who parted the Red Sea, who brought life to Sarah's aged womb, Who sent manna from heaven to less-than-faithful tribes of Israelites, to less-than-faithful nations today, could have allowed my dreams to come true. . . . if those dreams had been His. Instead, He gave me masterful miracles – beautiful children, family, and friends. I was just too busy trying to define life on fanciful terms to fully embrace His presents.
Could it be waking today, discovering the sand-colored spot on my face is gift, an epiphany sent by God, a call to recognize and share a valuable lesson? Perhaps the dot is a symbol of His grace, a seed, to plant in others' lives to mindfully teach that our moments mount to hours, days, years, that none should be taken for granted, and that none can be recaptured?
Though nature's seasons are fairly distinct, life sometimes ushers in more winters than springs, more falls than summers. Even within the unyielding frigidity of winter, there is purpose. As so it is with our lives.
Though countless creams and concoctions promise to do so, we cannot turn the clock back. Neither are we able to stop the hands of time from advancing. Life lessons are sometimes learned the hard way. Pain is a powerful teacher, if we allow the learning.
Today I shall not dip my hands in cosmetic solution to conceal my newfound imperfection. Instead, I shall wear it openly as a reminder of days yet to live, lessons to teach.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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