Ageless Beauty

“What is your name?” She smiled at me as I sat down my plate at the table to eat my lunch. I glanced over to the booth next to me and saw an elderly woman smiling at me.

“My name is Sharon,” I walked over to her booth thinking she must know me.

“My name is Marilyn,” she smiled at me. I realized when I arrived over there that I didn’t know her but to be gracious I went along with her.

“Good to see you!”

“I used to own a dress shop downtown so that must be where I know you from.”

I smiled and nodded. I’ve never been to a dress shop downtown.

I went over and sat down to eat. After a while, she got up to go get some plastic silverware at the bin and walked by me. She gave me a big smile. I said, “You look beautiful.” Her skin was very wrinkled with age and age spots dotted her face but she had on a fresh white blouse with a red design and the beauty of her smile made her beautiful.

She smiled, “Thank you. I needed to hear that.”

“I understand.” I could relate because the older we get the more we do need to hear that we are beautiful. I was glad to give her the gift of truth. Regardless of the ravages of age, she was beautiful.

Later, after I finished eating, she got up to leave and came over to my booth again. “What was your name again?” I smiled and told her.

She smiled again and nodded. “Well, I better go.”

I wanted to wish this sweet slightly forgetful lady the best so I said, “God bless you!”

She beamed, “Well, God has blessed me! You know I’m inoperable. I have misplaced discs in my back. I have an enlarged heart they can’t operate on. I have gall stones and I have a hernia. Last week they had to take off part of my big toe but look at me. I’m 85 and I am here. I am so blessed.” She smiled triumphantly.

She sniffed a little. “Oh and I have allergies too. But God has blessed me so much.” She beamed. “Well, I better go or I won’t have my ride home.” She smiled another beautiful smile and left.

Later I pondered the attitude, triumphant and joy of this lovely woman.

Though she had a zillion things physically wrong with her, she did not let it rob her of her blessings. The reality of her suffering did not take the gift of her joy and the blessing and the power of God on her life. She was not victimized, she declared her triumph that she had beaten the odds to still be alive at 85.

I personally do not believe there is anything wrong with legitimate expressions of distress, grief and suffering , I don’t in any way minimize those. At the same time, I could not help but pause in wonder at this woman’s triumph.

Her gratitude eased the stress of her suffering and gave her the strength to not be defeated by it.

She didn’t know me and I didn’t know her, However, for a few moments we knew each other enough for me to give back to her the gift of her beauty and for her to give me a gift of much needed perspective.

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