I missed an important paragraph as I was typing in June 3. So here is part of it again--with the missing paragraph. Then I'm adding a little more.
June 3 (I'm starting part way into the day's entry. See previous post for more.)
As the sea bears the sun, and births this new day, two words emerge. "Mortality" and "vantity." And somehow this morning, I must admit their relation to one-another, and to me.
A friend learned last week that he has three months, or fewer, to live. How does one swallow such news? Suddenly every day's plan, every trip and every conversation with his wife take on new weight--importance.
My family has known dark days. Days of disease or broken body. Now that we have moved beyond those reminders of our mortality, we are grateful to be living comfortably back in the "real world" where we easily ignore mortality--at least until a friend calls speaking of a new measuring stick, marked with three months, and divided into 90 notches called days.
Why did I and so many others rise early and take our places to watch the sunrise this morning? And why did the nascent beauty of today's first light reflect off of mostly graying heads? In some internal place we are learning that be it ninety or nine thousand notches that remain, there will be a last. And I want to be OK with that. Yet I know that I am not. I know this because yesterday--I shaved!
And this is where the siblings "Mortality" and "Vanity" enter the story. People used to guess me to be younger than my age. Lately they have not. Thirteen years ago (and more notches than I'd like to consider) I grew a beard. It was dark to match my scalp of thick, dark hair. And even though some gray has replaced the dark on the top of my head, most of my beard has turned white. Each whisker looked like a notch. So I lathered them up, shaved them off and washed them down the drain.
The guy looking at me in the mirror asked me, "What are you running from?"
Scripture says that beauty fades--like a flower we wither. "Here today and gone tomorrow." Just like my beard. Umm, just like my clean-shaven face. Today it is sprouthing truth. Vanity!
And here at the beach, if my beard isn't enough, my fifty year old body tells the world a lie. I alone know the twenty-five-years-ago-truth. And my soul pleads for my body to be young, and vital looking again.
Beauty of course serves its purpose. Darwin says it wins us mating rights and preserves the species. And this world where we live avoids the loss--the death of youth--at all costs. Is that what I'm running from?
Shaving away, and washing down
the white reminder.
Like the tide, ever rushing, life continues,
even as the frothy foam is reclaimed
by the sea.
Well, that was certainly open and honest. I'll meander further into these journal notes again in a day or so. Thanks for the kind and encouraging notes your sent me after the first entry. If my self-revelation encourages you that much, I'll take this a bit further. If this bores you, perhaps you'd like to reread the first seven chapters of The Runaway Pastor.