Growing Old Beautifully: Lessons From Autumn Leaves

“The time of the falling leaves has come again…How beautifully the leaves grow old! How full of light and color are their last days!” ~John Burroughs

As nature closes the curtain on summer and ushers in the arrival of fall, I’m enjoying the lovely transformation taking place outside my window. The summer leaves are trading in their green attire for the lovely hues of fall, and the colorful splashes of orange, red, and yellow makes even the dreariest days appear bright.

How beautifully the leaves do grow old! Since I’m in the autumn season of life, fall’s arrival always reminds me to pause and reflect on my own aging process.

I’m not talking about physical appearance. I’m accepted the fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin that becomes more noticeable each year.  My inner beauty is what I’m concerned about, and I always find room for plenty of improvement.

Unfortunately, many of us in the autumn season of life get too caught up in preserving our outward appearance. Rather than focusing on our inner beauty, many of us are too busy having a mid-life crisis, stressing out about things we have no control over, and trying to preserve our youth.

We live in a youth-oriented culture. Numerous products appear on the market claiming to make us look younger. Advertisements abound for anti-wrinkle creams, vitamin supplements, and pills that boast about their ability to prevent or delay the aging process.

Lets face it, we are growing older each day.  No matter how hard we try to avoid the aging process, it’s going to happen. No lotion or cream can stop it. I’m not saying it’s wrong to use moisturizers and take care of our physical appearance, but inwardly is where true beauty starts.

There’s only so much we can do about our physical beauty, but we have a lot of control over the state of our inward beauty. No woman is more attractive than one who has a lovely inner spirit that shines through to the outside.

Do you know an older person with sparkling eyes and a face that seems to glow? Although the aging process has taken its toll on their physical beauty,  their inner beauty is so powerful that it cancels out the signs of their physical age.

My grandma Mitchell was an expert on inner beauty. She loved life and was joyful in all circumstances. Her inner contentment and faith shined through to the outside.

And it wasn’t because grandma had an easy life.  She was married to an alcoholic and raised five children in an alcoholic home. She had to work hard to keep the children fed,  because my grandfather spent what money he made on booze. He became mean and surly when he was drunk. At times, she had to walk for miles with the children to keep them safe. Driving wasn’t an option, because grandma never got her license until pap died.

Grandma became a widow in her early 50’s and remained single until she passed away from bone cancer in her early 80’s. She endured many hardships in life, but through it all her inner beauty shined through. She enjoyed life and always had a smile to greet anyone who showed up on her doorstep.

She was the happiest person I knew, and she wasn’t putting on an act. The light in her face and her rosy cheeks reflected an inner peace and contentment that couldn’t even be snuffed out by the years spent with an alcoholic husband and a rough life.

Grandma aged gracefully and beautifully. Her countenance never once reflected the hardships of life she endured. Those who didn’t know her history would never have imagined the difficulties she endured mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially.

No matter what season of life we are in, it’s never too early or too late to start an inner beauty regimen. We can age beautifully by starting to cultivate some inner beauty basics right now.

Inner Beauty Basics

  • Seek an intimate relationship with God and nurture it by praying and reading the Bible consistently.
  • Believe and trust that God has a special purpose for you in every season of your life.
  • Make God’s word the authority for every choice and decision you make.
  • Be content and thankful for what you have.
  • Count your blessings every day.
  • Choose to love, forgive, encourage, and help others.
  • Don’t dwell on the past. Learn from past mistakes and move forward.
  • Use the gifts and talents God gave you, and don’t worry about the outcome. God wants a faithful servant, not a popular or famous one. You simply need to be faithful and do the work. God will do the rest.
  • Get enough sleep, eat healthy most of the time, stay active, and take time for your hobbies and the things you enjoy. Taking care of your physical body can improve your mental and emotional health.
  • Live your life with an eternal perspective. This life is only temporary. Heaven is forever.

When we age inwardly and spiritually well,  we will grow more beautiful over time.  Our faces will be radiant with God’s love, and our beauty will shine as bright as the leaves in autumn.

How’s your inner-beauty regimen? What areas do you need to work on that will allow you to age beautifully and gracefully?

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