A few months ago, a long time girlfriend from high school invited me to join her on Facebook. Since then, I’ve had the incredible experience of catching up with friends I haven’t seen or talked to in 20+ years! The interesting thing I’ve noticed while looking at everyone’s photos… we’re all old now! If I look closely I can see the old, I should say young, friend in the photo, but not really. Like in Hook with Robin Williams, when one of the Lost Boys touches Jack’s face, stretching the skin to make it look tight and young…”Are you in there Jack?” What happened???! Sure, in my mind I know lots of time has passed, but for some reason on the inside, I think I should look the same as I did back then. You know? It’s strange — this aging process. Yet another thing in life no one can prepare you for.
I remember in 1980, when I announced to my girlfriend that I was pregnant with my first child, she said something that has stuck with me all these years… “Get ready to watch yourself grow old before your eyes.” Few words have been spoken that were so profoundly true. We get so busy with life, raising our children like they were our little vegetable garden or something, when all of a sudden—TIME passes by. We can’t see it, we can’t feel it, we don’t even really notice it happening, but somehow it touches us. This strange invisible force that changes us, others and our world, moment by moment.
Today I look in the mirror and see I’ve turned into my mother! Some mornings when I’m on the floor doing yoga, I look like my grandmother doing her exercises with Jack Lalanne. But yet, other days, inside, I’m still that hurting little 6 year old girl who just wants to be loved and accepted. Who am I? Really?
Growing up in the 60’s & 70’s there was this thing said that people over the age of 30 couldn’t be trusted. But what about people over the age of 50; they were just ancient; antiquities, many born in another millennium! Sound familiar! Golly, not only am I now my grandmother, I’m my great-grandmother! I’m from the past century?????? Whoa! Now that’s heavy.
What can we make of this? What can we learn about ourselves and others?
Really no matter how old we are, all of us are just little children inside, still hurting from old wounds yet to heal fully. I look back at my parents and grandparents, they too were just children in an older body, walking through life trying to live with their own childhood wounds. They may not have done the best job, but that’s who they were.
A few years ago I used to watch a TV show called Cold Case. I liked how they would morph the people, victims and perpetrators alike, between their past and present person. We would be able to imagine they are still that hurting person from the past, the abused child, the rebellious teenager or strung out adult.
Sometimes we who come from an abused past seem to stop maturing at the age of our abuse. We get stuck in that place of trauma, in an invisible cage of hurt and confusion. We continue to grow and age physically, but mentally and emotionally we are stuck in a time warp from the past, relating to the world through the eyes and mind of our hurting inner child.
I’ve lived most of my 51 years just that way… stuck… searching for love in all the wrong places, trying to find real, true, unconditional love that would take away that awful pain inside. It was not until after abusing and destroying my own family, when I saw no place else to turn, that I was able to reach out and receive God’s saving grace that only comes in the form of Jesus Christ.
Today, I can honestly say, I may not always recognize the face on my Facebook page or the body in my mirror; but I know she is loved and accepted by the One that matters most. Praise God, He makes all things new!