Wrinkles. Lately, I've been scrutinizing my face. The world of beauty tells me I must rid myself of wrinkles. Innumerable advertisements persuade me to reduce them, diminish them and eradicate them.
So I purchased a pricey anti-wrinkle cream attempting to stay in the race for youth. I began slathering this oily cream on, hoping that it would "erase" the lines that time has so indifferently placed upon my once young face.
While applying my miracle cream I contemplated how these soft lines and creases were created. First, I ran a finger over the line between my eyebrows, and I made the face that accentuates this particular line. The expression is one of concern.
This one was made while I worried about many loved ones, or while I sat in hospital waiting rooms holding a worried hand, or stayed up through long nights with my little ones monitoring a fever or flu, or nursing a friend back to hope from a bad day or a broken heart.
Then I raised my eyebrows and pondered the parallel lines that grace my forehead. The expression is interest or surprise. Something every mother, grandmother, aunt, sister and friend uses to hold up her end of a conversation. We do it without knowing. This expression says: I'm listening, I'm here, I'm interested and you mean something to me.
Next, I smiled softly. I ran my finger over the two lines that run from the corners of my mouth, up to the outer edges of my nose. These are lines of content and happiness, and sometimes pride. These lines have been formed through countless moments.
Content at the completion of a hard day's work, or a job well done. Happiness appears on my face when I hear my children giggle, or when I share a story with someone special. Pride appears when a loved one accomplishes great things: a graduation, a new job, a wedding anniversary or tying shoelaces for the first time.
Finally, I smiled a huge smile and studied the lines trailing off from the corners of my eyes, and the tiny creases just beginning to form on my cheeks. These are the best. These are lines of joy.
The joy I've experienced when someone I love made an awesome play in the big game, or has had a baby she's waited so long for, or finds the love of his life. The joy I've felt when my little ones were born and one of them says "I love you" out of the blue, or when my husband makes me laugh so hard that I cry. The joy I've felt when someone returns home from far away for a visit, or the doctor tells us the tests have come back negative. Vacations, parties, Christmases, reunions, sunny days and small miracles have given me so much joy.
My wrinkles have been crafted from years of care, concern, happiness, pride and joy. I don't think that is such a horrible thing. My face is a testament to the fact that my life has been full. For me to have escaped this inevitable marking of time, I would have to have been emotionless and unfeeling.
Perhaps many women curse the ravages of time. It is my hope, however, that the next time they gaze in the mirror, they might remember the origin of those expressive lines and find joy in those memories.
I refuse to call them wrinkles anymore. I will call them lifelines and be proud of them. Lifelines mark the path of a life well lived. I hope you'll join me, by celebrating your own lifelines!