I was two minutes on a friend’s couch, as enveloped as she was in the buzz of kids. Kids circling the stairway. Kids asking for chili. Kids bored. When she said simply, “you look tired.”
Life was swimming around the two of us, no noise more discernible than the next and yet, I heard it. Felt it. A tiny plunk. A sudden sagging of my spirit hitting the water and sinking.
“…tired,” she’d said. Kindly, even. Sympathetic. Her eyes had been staring at mine over her coffee mug.
And I had nodded, and said, “I know.” Because I did. I knew what she was seeing. Knew that the lines digging into my forehead and the ones cradling my eyes reflected someone I barely recognized in the mirror anymore. Someone 39 1/2 years worn.
At home under the bright lights in our bathroom, I have pulled and pushed on the sides of my face and watched as the tattling lines of age and weariness disappear. “There I am,” I think. And for a second, I smile at what was.
But then my fingers fall, and so does my face, and I know better. Know that I am no more the shell of this person holding my cheeks back to my ears than I am the one clacking a pair of tweezers at hairs where they never used to be.
I am the one on the inside. The one beneath the skin and sag. The one hidden by the knees that used to jump and the arms that long to swing. The one who has been broken and gathered and broken and gathered. And rescued. By Jesus. Who loved me first. Who loves me most.
And so. I do not want to look tired.
Which is why I pray that through these cracks, and lines and graying hairs that the light that is within me will outshine this weary body. And that it is not tiredness that others see, but Jesus, as they say…
“You look radiant today!”