Comfortable in our own skin

together via kimberlyanncoyle.com

I ate pancakes before I left the house for my first mammogram. I thought it seemed fitting as, not thirty minutes later, a machine squashed my unmentionables into this exact shape. When I told my mom about it, she welcomed me to the land of maturity, then she suggested I schedule a colonoscopy. Yeah, I’ll get right on that one.

Two of my friends beat breast cancer over the last few years, and while I felt a sudden surprise at reaching the age where my peers receive this diagnosis, it still felt distant to me. Until the bi-lateral pancakes.

Something about the word maturity stuck with me after the conversation with my mother. I turned it over and over in my hands, and I still can’t come to grips with it. Maturity is a slippery concept. I recognize that I’ve reached an age in which mature could be used to describe what I see in the mirror every day–sun spots, crows feet, and a few soon-to-be-plucked grays. But, the mirror doesn’t reflect the unseen, the maturing of the soul and the spirit.

I hoped the good gifts of aging would show up alongside the less desirable ones too. I hoped wisdom would arrive and make its home here, settling deep into the laugh lines of my soul. I wanted knowledge and understanding to find their place, sprouting from my very roots, the ones planted by the rivers of living water. I longed for a better vision, the kind that makes up for the reading glasses and the fading eyesight, the kind that dreams dreams and sees how I fit into the future of God’s Kingdom come.

I look in the mirror, and I don’t always see these good gifts. If the last few weeks of internal wrestling and outward despair at the state of the world have taught me anything, it is that I don’t know how much I don’t know. Wisdom? I look for her and she is conspicuously absent. Visions? They fade as the current state of this broken world assaults me daily, leaving me no room to dream. Knowledge? Understanding? I don’t know how much I don’t know until I hop on the internet and someone is quite happy to tell me–I know nothing.

It leaves me wondering how I cultivate these good gifts, the ones I thought we inherited with age, when it turns out we earn them. Just like I earned my laugh lines and the saggy skin around my mama belly. Life stretches and pulls us until we settle into our old skin. I’m wrestling here, with what I am and what I hope to become, with the years I spent stretching, and the stretching I have yet to do.

People say we grow more comfortable in our skin as we age. The skin of my soul doesn’t feel so comfortable right now, but I see this as a good thing. It means there is more stretching ahead, more life to birth in the years ahead.

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How are you stretching right now? What are the good gifts you want to come with age and experience?

 

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  • This resonates Kimberly. Grateful for the more stretching that lies ahead. Blessings.

  • Jonathon

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