Monday, June 18, 2007

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...

I used to buy a lot of women's magazines. But a number of years ago, it dawned on me that I was taking rotten bait. Endless hours spent poring over pictures of airbrushed glamour was causing me to focus too much on externals, spend excessively at the cosmetic counter, and long for attributes I will never possess. I'm happiest today in a pair of Levi's and have found, after years of searching, the best cosmetics for me are sunblock and pink lipstick from CVS. I'm pretty simple.

So... we find ourselves on Saturday night at Borders Books. Todd is looking for a computer manual of some sort and I'm booked out, so I land in the periodical section. It's been years since I've looked at a bookstore magazine rack and I was intrigued by all the new titles. One thick glossy magazine in the back of the rack looked particularly colorful and interesting, so I pulled it out. Turns out, it was an entire magazine about cosmetic surgery, complete with an exhaustive section on the country's top appearance alterers.

I know I should have just put it back, but some dark curiosity compelled me to keep flipping the pages. In about five minutes time, I learned about problems and cures for things I never knew existed. There are liquid lifts, thread lifts, knee lifts, even hand lifts! A major article detailed what one might "need" from about 40 on. There are slacking skin issues associated with parts of the face I never knew about. After becoming sufficiently informed and disgusted, I shut the magazine and shoved it back on the shelf.

A couple seconds later, Todd ambled by.

"Do you think I have sagging skin in the mid-section?" I wondered aloud.

"Absolutely not," he (wisely) replied.

"Do you know what mid-section I'm talking about?" I probed.

"Is there more than one?" he asked.

"According to this magazine, I have a mid-section in my face and things have no doubt begun to descend."

Todd studied my face intently, not knowing whether or not I was going over the edge on a raft or pulling his leg.

"Do you think I need a face lift?" I quizzed.

"Absolutely not," he (wisely) said. "Are you kidding?"

"I'm kidding," I allowed, "but, thanks to that magazine, I'm now aware of problems I never even knew I had!"

Billy Graham's beloved wife, Ruth, died at the age of 87 last week. At her memorial service, Dr. Graham was quoted as saying "I wish you could look in that casket because she's so beautiful." That, friends, is real and enduring beauty.

I think I'll pass on the remedy for my "mid-section" and hold off for a few decades on those knee and hand lifts. Because the beauty I really aspire to can't be bought or whittled.

(Pic by Charlier Brewer; see for details.)

Word Study: The Hebrew word hebel is translated literally as "breath" but used metaphorically throughout the OT to mean vanity, futility and/or temporality. In Ecclesiastes alone, the word occurs 38 times. While some scholars believe the author of Ecclesiastes concludes that all life is meaningless, others suggest that the point in context is that meaning in life cannot be found outside of God. ( Source: Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words)


Anonymous said...

Sarah, you are an amazing writer. The only thing you do better than write is speak! There were several things in this blog post which caused me to reflect back on our presentation at the Women's Retreat last year when you spoke about Endurance, and I want to make sure that people know what an awesome public speaker you are! Some people keep their painful, personal experiences to themselves, but you allow God to use them publicly, as teaching tools for the rest of us. The impact you made last Spring on almost 200 women has never "worn off!" They still talk about it! I pray that God uses you in the lives of thousands more, for His Glory. And I thank Him that you are a willing vessel to be used. I plan to pass your name around to other churches, so get ready! Much love, Kathy Padgett (Women's LifeGroups Minister, 121 Community Church, Grapevine TX)

Sarah Onderdonk said...

Kathy... I am humbled by that... you used a couple adjectives I would never use to describe myself. My prayer for that event was that God would work through "Stars & Scars" to change lives... and that it wouldn't be a strictly emotional or momentary thing... but something that people retained. It gives me a happy heart today to know that there was lasting benefit for the glory of God.

As for being "ready," ready for what remains a mystery. Outside my family, where to focus the time and energy? Writing? How? Books or blogs? Speaking? Where? Studying? How much? Serving in some completely different area outside writing or speaking? I'm ever prayerful and hopeful for a dusting of bread crumbs from heaven, because it's all a bit like confetti in the air at the moment... !

Thanks so much and love to you!