"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation.

You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."
Dr. Adrian Rogers 1931-2005

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Aging Gracefully?

The preoccupation with youthfulness has resulted in the great modern American obsession to eliminate, delay, or escape the fate of physical deterioration from growing old. 1

As a person nearing 50, I am becoming more and more aware of how being this age means in a society that fears aging.  The last real conversation I had with my mother was about how she said I should NEVER let my hair go gray and continue to dye my hair as if it was the purpose of my life.

I did not listen to my mother.  I had made the decision before our last conversation as I had been battling the gray for years and decided no more in the later part of 2010.  Mom was serious though.  She had many valid reasons why, and to be honest the reasons she had seem to be as valid today in 2016 as she experienced all her life. As my opening quote shares we live in a society where this preoccupation with youth is insane. 

It is something to be ashamed of to have gray hair.  I actually was told by a person a bit older than me that I must have some sort of a vitamin deficiency because my hair was graying.  The truth of the matter is that gray hair comes to those that age.  Some may not get gray until their 50s or 60s, but for the average person the 40s are when gray hair appears and slowly takes over. 2  To suggest that I may have a vitamin deficiency is possible, but my age alone is the key as to the arrival of gray hair!

Our modern society says that people reach their most desired or peak phase in life either in their late teens or at that coveted milestone, age twenty-one.  After that, they are thought to begin their downward journey, to be "over the hill."  By contrast, the scriptures assert that the pinnacle of a person's life is in old age. 1
Why do we perpetuate this?  Why do we allow this to be perpetuated?  I cannot begin to tally how many women I have spoken to in the past several years about hair color and the dying of hair.  Nearly every single woman responded with the notion that graying was horrible and something tragic.  One said she had too much trauma to see herself gray, another said that she is not old enough to be gray yet, and a good number out and out stated that they DO NOT have gray hair although in the period of time that I have known them all, they color their hair monthly, if not weekly!   Why is having gray hair so horrible?  And most of the women I interact with are professing Christians, and  this viewpoint of being gray or aged is something they see as bad, yet the Bible says the opposite.  

In Proverbs 16:31 The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.3  The word hoary is defined as gray or white with age.4

The age of people in the Bible is given at their death.  It is not something to be kept secret but to be shared.  The Bible emphasis is... not on one reaching his prime physically in old age, but rather spiritually, psychologically, and mentally.  Therefore one did not fear advancing years but welcomed them optimistically.  Thus in the Bible, people were not made to feel they ought to apologize for being alive, or that they had outlived their usefulness.1   

This is the battle in the modern Christian mindset.  It is hard to separate oneself from the world while having our feet firmly planted in the world. As one that is a believer, I stand in the slowly but surely I am getting older and accepting who I am.  My hair is gray.  Yep.  I have wrinkles on the corners of my eyes. Yep.  My knees make themselves known. Yep.  I need reading glasses. Yep.  I am not the youthful ball of energy I used to be. Yep.

Psalm 139: 14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.3

In spite of the world, I have and will continue to embrace this journey of aging that I have been so far blessed with.  Many people do not live as long as I have lived.  My dad was killed at 28.  I have a friend who lost a twin at age 2.  A blogger lost her newborn son a few years ago.  To decide that aging is something horrible is tragic especially for those that have not had that advantage. 

The world will perpetuate youthful images in all that they do.  Our Creator has revealed in His Word what is Truth and what we should do and how we should live.  We are fearfully and wonderfully made.  Our Father knows when we would go gray.  He designed us.  It is not something to run from.  To mom~I wish she was here or I wish I could have really explained what I believe and how I am able to be who I am in spite of living in a nation that not only embraces youth but worships youth. To mom I wish I could tell her I am aging gracefully!  
1 Wilson, Marvin. L. Our Father Abraham Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith. Grand Rapids, MI.:Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. Print.
2 Sashin, Daphne. "Premature Graying, Reasons, Options". WebMD. Web.  March 2, 2016. http://www.webmd.com/beauty/hair-nails/abcs-premature-graying?page=2
3 King James Bible
4  hoary. Dictionary.com. Web. March 2, 2016. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hoary


Dizzy-Dick said...

I am 73 on the outside, but a lot younger on the inside. . . well maybe not on the inside, but just in my mind. They say you are only as young as you feel, so sometimes, I must be way over a hundred (grin) and at other times I feel very youthful, usually in my dreams. . .

MC said...

I'm 38 and have only had 3 gray hairs so far (2 in the back of my head that my husband pulled out to show me since I didn't believe him, and one right at the part in the front). I expected them sooner as most people on my dad's side of the family (which I favor in every other respect) started going gray around 35 at the latest.

I eagerly anticipate my "wisdom hairs" though I doubt I will ever have the wisdom to go with them. I always loved the way the gray looked in my grandmother's black hair (all silver now, at 90) and in my aunt's brown hair (though hers came in white, not gray). My stepmom was fully iron-gray when I met her (she was 67 and I was 21); I thought it just suited her and begged her never to dye it when she talked about making it brown again to "be beautiful for her new husband." I want to have a physical marker that places me in the ranks with those women I admire so much (even if I'm not good enough or smart enough to deserve to be there).

It breaks my heart to see my MIL dye away her beautiful silver-gray hair. It sits so nice in with the brown, brings out the golden color in her eyes (the same golden color I love so much in my husband's and son's eyes). But it's on her head, she can do with it as she will. She is very much an ad-based person (which also breaks my heart).

I won't be dying away my gray (or getting my wrinkles lifted away, or anything more than using a little cold cream at night). I've thought about dying some gray IN, but that's too much cost and too much trouble. When God finally decides I've earned some "wisdom hair," I might just be choosing my tops to show it off!!!!

Deanna Rabe said...

I agree. I am 52 and have some grey but I have never colored my hair, and I don't plan too. I grew up with a mother who hated ageing and she still does, instead of looking at all she has accomplished or learned in the years that God has given her. I hope to embrace the days to come because I have prepared for them and my hope is in the Lord!

kymber said...

Spicy - this is a topic no one ever talks about! i, too, like you, wish to age gracefully. i no longer dye my hair and guess what - it's getting gray - bahahahah! but i feel that the gray hairs are rewards for being around as long as i have been! i've got creaks and cranks but they, too, are rewards. like you, i want to age gracefully. i want to enjoy this stage of my life. i look at jambaloney and although he is still gorgeous, i notice his gray hair when i brush it and i notice lines around his mouth and eyes. but those lines i call his smile lines because they are most noticed when he smiles. and then i think he has had a good life of smiles and i love it when he smiles at me and i see the lines. he needs reading glasses now...and when he puts them on to read a manual for a piece of equipment that we rely on...all i can think of is how handsome he is!

and hey - here's a giggle for the times that are a-coming - i can no longer pull off a bikini - bahahahah! this year i bought a one-piece bathing suit for when we go down to the beach. we have only seen people at the beach one or two times in the last 5 years, but you have to be clothed just in case right? i'll send you a pic of me in my one-piece. i used to rock a bikini but those days are over. no probs - i'm in a new place of my life and loving it. as are you. we are in the "rock star" phases of our lives - bahahahahah!

hope you understand all that i am saying here. let's be thankful together for getting to this point in our lives! you will always be spicy to me...you'll be at your spiciest when you are 98! and i hope that you will still be calling me your friend at that time.

sending much love to you and that growing DN crew! YOUR friend,

Humble wife said...

DD-I like that a good deal of the time, life allows me to *feel* old with the experiences and such! I do think I am younger than I am...lol and then the mirror tattle tales on me.

MC- beautiful attitude!! Thank you for your comment.

Deanna-exactly! Our hope is in the Lord! Embracing who we are is so much easier than battling something that everyone loses if they live a long life!

Kymber----Oh my you ALWAYS crack me up! No longer pulling off a bikini! 4 C-sections closed that window for me years ago!!! hahahahaha. I love that you say we are in the rock star phase of our lives as every year I think this and every year--- you guessed it, I am older!

Anonymous said...

So thoughtfully and beautifully written.

My mother has and her mother had beautiful silver curly hair. I've always had very limp straight hair and never thought about what it would look like as grey, but did one time notice someone with pretty gray shoulder length hair and eyes the same color of green as mine (also the same black eyebrows, which I had even as a strawberry blond child, lol) and I thought to myself that she rocked her hair and I could too when the time came.

My grey is white. And it's curly, lol. The curly white hairs stick out from my elbow length dark blond/light brown hair and I find it amusing and laugh at God's humor. All my life I wanted curly hair. He never disappoints! I look strange with short hair, as I have cowlicks on both sides and never enough body to pull off any style, so long it has been, is and will be until God transforms it. The curly white hairs don't grow long, they fall out before reaching length. When curly and white is the dominant color and texture, I'll venture to cut it into some sassy style that will shock everyone.

Thank you for this post!


Humble wife said...

Sidetracksusie, Thank you for your comment! I think you are right that God never disappoints us and all we need do is listen and wait and smile! I have wavy, curly, cowlicks all about so I totally understand- oh and the dark eyebrows and hair-yep that is me too!