Monday, April 16, 2007

The Beauty of Age

My dear grandmother is now with her Lord. Before she died, my family and I were blessed to share a special visit with her at the Senior's Lodge where she spent the final years of her life. Our youngest boy was only months old and had just learned to sit, so we were relishing in his latest "trick", and had given him a seat of particular honor - right on the middle of the patio table we were visiting around.

Ur-Oma (great-grandmother) was enjoying the little one and I was busy snapping photos. As motherly, protective hands subconsciously do, Oma cradled the back of my boy - to ensure he wouldn't suddenly fall backwards and be hurt.

The moments were special - particularly so, because they were the last moments we spent together.

Months later, I was scrapbooking these photos into a photo album, and in doing so, dramatically cut some of the photos up. I was trying a "new" technique - placing little squares around the circumferance of the page. I remember looking for "one last square" to complete the page - rifling through my photo scraps in search of a flower, leaf, or some other "less noticeable" feature in the remnants of my photographs. As a result, my eyes lighted upon a corner in my discard pile. On it, were my grandmother's hands. Instantly, I cut around those hands to shape a square and added it, like the crowning jewel to my scrapbook page.

To anyone else, the little square would probably be overlooked on the page - amidst the shining face of my 6 month old, and smiles of my, then 3 year old with Ur-Oma. But today I was reminded just how precious that little square of the photograph is, and why it stirred my heart while I was scrapbooking.

Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Seminary and host of the Albert Mohler show (and arguably, one of the smartest Christians speaking out in the world today:), did a show last week called The Nature of True Beauty. I highly recommend listening to the program - especially if you've ever lamented over a wrinkle or a blemish. As part of the show, Dr.Mohler addressed our cultural fixation with the beauty of youth and how this becomes extraplated into the superiority of youthfulness. He pointed to scripture's perspective on beauty, as penned by Solomon in Proverbs 31:30 0 Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain (NIV "fleeting"), But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.

My Oma was a woman who feared God. I remember her talking of God to strangers, to friends, and to her family. She was in the Word daily and sought to live according to it with all her strength. In hindsight, I regret that I did not respect and honor her more in these regards. She was a hard-working wife and mother. She worked long and hard at church - using her gift of encouragement to rally brothers & sisters in the faith until her final days. Her hands spoke of such efforts. Her hands displayed her beauty within. Such true beauty is what I would like to develop - for it is such beauty that is not simply a result of genetic distribution, but the result of an obedient and willing heart in the hands of the Almighty God. Such beauty is to be praised because it points to the creator and sustainer of true beauty and it exalts Him, who IS truly beautiful.

May our hands become more beautiful - as we serve our God by serving others. May each wrinkle that is earned prove itself beautiful in the refining fire of our Maker's cauldron. May the beauty that we seek, reflect that ultimate Beauty we are gazing upon in God through Christ Jesus our Lord.


Homemanager said...

Oh Marlene!
What a great tribute to your Grandmother and to the Lord! It is so true that the Lord's idea of beauty is not always ours.
I was thinking about wrinkles and thought about all the changes that take place when we have had children!! bringing forth life leaves many "badges" of honor and beauty. :)

Kelly said...

Thank you Marlene. That was beautiful.

Shane said...

Very sorry to hear of your loss. I apologize in advance for the rudenes of changing the subject, but since you don't have an email contact point, I am forced to leave a comment for you.

I just found your page via Rebecca Writes, and I wanted to invite you to join a new blogroll called Canadian Crossbloggers. It is meant to be a blogroll made up of Canadian Christians (or Christian Canadians, for those picky about whose allegiance comes first! ;-)) and a starting point for entering into dialogue with each other for the purpose of glorifying God and His Kingdom here in Canada. I hope it will both edify its members and become a reference point for the Canadian Blogging scene.

Please check us out: the url for now is Hopefully shortly the domain name will kick in. If you would like to join, please let me know and I can add you to the roll and send you info on how to add the blogroll to your blog.

Thank you and God bless!

Bernice Andres said...

Marlene - I am so glad to find you! I hope that you continue to check here for comments, even though the posting is months past. I was sorry to hear about your grandma - what a beautiful tribute.
I found you by googling your name (after I sifted through old letters from you - to help me find your married name). I have missed you often in the last few years and would love to reconnect with you. If you ever have the time, please email me. I would just love to hear from you.
Bernice Andres

Amy Grant said...

I have tears in my eyes. This is so beautiful and I am very glad you shared.

I'm sorry for your loss. It is obvious that this precious lady was a huge influence in your life.

God bless!