Saturday, April 14, 2007

Real Beauty

Commentary On Age
By T.W. Bill Neville

They say that beauty is only skin deep, but it has been my experience that "Beauty is as beauty does."  The most beautiful face I've had the pleasure of seeing is my wife's.  As the Mother of our five sons, Grandmother of 10, and Great Grandmother of 1, her face is a history book of joys and sorrows.  Her journey, now in her 76th year, 57 of them at my side, bears witness to the fact, that behind any successful man, is a woman of eternal devotion, strength, and patience.  Her journey as wife, Mother, counsellor, disciplinarian, confessor, guardian, and humanitarian are etched into each line in her face.

Contrary to what the elites would have us believe, those of us who man the battle stations on the front lines of this war of survival, called life, know that those dreaded lines and creases are really "service stripes" or love lines.  Love lines earned in the pursuit of other people's happiness and survival, while maintaining some level of sanity in the pursuit of personal respect and happiness.  Those "service stripes", the inevitable evidence of the commitment to other people's needs and wants, can and do serve as lasting memorials to the integrity and strength that only total maturity can bestow.  Convictions take time to resolve and sort out so that time has provided the necessary strength to apply and live them.  Unlike youth which at best is a blank canvass, the brush strokes of aging have created a depth of beauty sustainable for the ages.

For those of us fortunate enough to have avoided debilitating aging, be thankful and show your gratitude at every opportunity by making your presence felt through community service and involvement.  The worst fear of aging can be to suddenly find that you are irrelevant.  For most people, the most significant event of irrelevancy is to lose your driving privileges.  The pace of living, so dependent on mobility, while not being supported by public transportation facilities, can be a prison sentence for many. 

My wife loves to keep aging in perspective and often responds to the age question by stating, I'm not old, I'm chronologically gifted."  She and I agreed a long time ago that family is the driving force in any successful life and to make sure you are always nice to your kids, because they have the capability to choose your nursing home.

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