|Weathered. Photo by Windi Sebren|
A friend of mine posted this picture on social media this weekend. One word caption accompanied the picture: Weathered.
It took my breath away, and at first, I had no idea why. I just knew it was simply beautiful. Small traces of what was red paint remained from the long ago, blasted by storm and faded by sun; the wood grain was lifted and cracked from the effects of heating and cooling. The overall impact was just striking. It reminded me of worn icons in forgotten niches of Latin churches. The careworn appearance is not a result of an absence of care. Quite the opposite.
The more that I think about it, though, I realize that this image is an important thing for me to consider.
My I-don't-really-have-a-bald-spot combover is not quite covering the places where my 'red paint' is being worn away. Some days I feel like the chiseling and carving that I once felt defined me - body, face, mind - are irrevocably marred by the passage of time. The heat, the rain, the storms have all taken their toll. The carving doesn't look as good, and might benefit from a paint job. Right now, it looks like the owner just doesn't care.
Quite the opposite.
But I also look at what the storms are washing away: crippling self doubt and insecurity. They have eroded away some of my sharper edges, especially the need to demonstrate prowess - intellectual, physical, whatever.
And what is emerging is beautiful, in a very different way than I expected.
And when I look around at my friends - with the balding pates and the growing paunches and the reading glasses beginning to be perched on noses, I see the same beauty as I see in that weathered panel. It is striking. It is powerful.
And a coat of paint - be it botox or lipo or toupee or spanx - just doesn't look as good as the raw beauty of the weathered surface.
That weathering tells such better stories. And speaks volumes to all of the love experienced in the life.