Aging beauty

I had no intention of starting a series when I posted “What makes a woman beautiful?” a few days ago, but Michelle’s comment really spoke to me and I feel I must respond. She said

The most beautiful female face I’ve ever seen was the National Silver Cross mother about 25 years ago. It was before Afghanistan, and finding a mother of a person who had died in armed conflict was becoming difficult. I do not recall her name, but she had the most beautiful, kind eyes that sparkled. Even with tears in her eyes as she placed the wreath on the National Cenotaph, all her 95-year-old wrinkles made her look like she was still smiling. She was just stunning.

I had to ask myself why women in our society value youthful appearance so highly.

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The ads that appear in the first few pages of my latest Chatelaine magazine scream the message loud and clear, but do young women really have a monopoly on physical beauty? Let’s use my Mom as an example. There’s no question that she was lovely in her younger days

young Mom

but is she really any less beautiful here at the age of 88 with her great grandson in her arms?

IMG_6792_2

Though I’m not crazy about my marionette lines and the little wrinkles appearing above my upper lip, I think that a young face, as pretty as it might be, is a bit like an empty canvas waiting for an artist’s brush. In my opinion, believing that beauty belongs only to the young is like thinking that a blank journal is more interesting to read than an autobiography!

That brings me to one of my favourite photos from our time in China. I thought she was beautiful when I first saw her and I still do. I wish I could have spoken to her but language was a barrier. I have no doubt, however, that the lines on her face tell a story… a story of hardship, a story of survival, but hopefully also a story with some happiness in it.

IMG_1445_3

Do you think she’s beautiful?

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. John Frith
    Apr 18, 2014 @ 10:25:25

    Beauty speaks to the deepest part of our souls tellling us that all is right with the world. I love this poem that my son’s class would recite first thing every morning:

    To wonder at beauty,
    Stand guard over truth,
    Look up to the noble,
    Resolve on the good.
    This leadeth us truly
    To purpose in living,
    To right in our doing,
    To peace in our feeling,
    To light in our thinking.
    And teaches us trust,
    In the working of God,
    In all that there is,
    In the width of the world,
    In the depth of the soul.

    by Rudolph Steiner

    Reply

  2. Mrs C
    Apr 18, 2014 @ 13:52:41

    Real beauty is deeper than the superficiality that (sadly) we are caught up in by choice or not. Somehow we are pressured to be more beautiful on the outside and yet lacking on what is more important beyond the surface. What is the point of being drop dead gorgeous but have nothing on the inside.. I think that is just SAD. Hope you are well, Elaine. I’ve been busy here on this side of the world as parents are in town 🙂 so, busy for the good reason, I would say 🙂

    Reply

    • edebock
      Apr 18, 2014 @ 14:49:25

      You’re so right, Ida! There’s too much emphasis on what’s on the outside and not enough on what’s inside.

      Have a wonderful time with your parents! 🙂

      Reply

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