Five Minute Friday: Tree

Thoughts are a forest today—lonely and wild. This husk of darkness veils the details … each tree cloaked in shadow, each leaf stripped bare. You crunch along this rugged terrain.
You spend an hour on the phone with a girlfriend assuring her that she is enough, she is beautiful and kind. But when the conversation ends you know she doesn’t believe you. How do we give truth to others in a way that they will believe? How do we receive truth?
We have to live it first.
Your 14-year-old son sits beside you on the couch and looks at the screen over your shoulder. Then he looks at you.
You.
“You look old,” he says. And automatically the hand goes to the hair, the face. You feel your body against your bones, whole and round. You are aware that you take up too much space.
“Well, I’m not young,” you laugh into his smooth skin. His beautiful eyes. But later, you stare in the mirror…pull the skin back from your center, suck in your tummy, lift your breasts up to where they used to be. Where has time gone? Who is this person looking back at you?
Where were you when this world decided what would be called beautiful? Wouldn’t you have spoken up for a few things? For crow’s feet and stretch marks? The chicken pox scars in the corner of the eye? And this loose skin that used to house another—that carried a heartbeat underneath its swelling curve. Isn’t this beauty?
The memory of beauty is not enough. You must call it beautiful now. But no one will believe you. You wear your body like a loose-fitting sweater. Who could believe such a contrast? You thought you were too smart for this. To get caught in this trap of regret, of longing for the particular beauty of youth. But here you are, casting aside all the years this body has been faithful. Shouldn’t this count for something?
When you look at the soft crown of white on others, you name it beautiful. This is the richer beauty—the rings hidden inside the trunk of each tree, each layer of growth speaking the stories that hold witness there. Do you dare look deeper into your own skin? Do you dare to name yourself beautiful?
In the dark forest of thoughts this is the singular tree that stands erect. The years grow on her like skin, layer after layer of time wrapping around her boney skeleton as she becomes. This is beauty—this becoming, this constant growing, never staying the same.
Step softly into the beauty of time. Don it like a gown. Let it fall swirling around your ankles; let it halo around your brow. This is the gift you can give to others: live in truth.
You are beautiful.

Five Minute Friday

Comments

  1. says

    I’m stopping by from the Five Minute Friday linkup ~ my, your words here are lovely! I love that you associated beauty in a person to a tree’s beauty. Very wise. I also believe that everyone is beautiful, no matter how they look on the outside. We just have to be willing to find it 🙂 And all those memories of hard times and our own imperfections are what makes us beautiful, too. Thanks for sharing!

  2. SimplyDarlene says

    So, did you wrestle your son to the floor and tickle him ’til he begged for mercy?

    It doesn’t matter our age, we are still, each of us, princess daughters of the King of kings.

    Blessings.

  3. Debbie Williams says

    I’m your neighbor Laura. Beautiful thoughts and beautiful you. We are as beautiful as trees. I finally get that – my beauty is in the creation of my Lord – a masterpiece, a mighty oak. I remember one time I said to my daughter “my hands are getting old” and it really bothered her. Surely your son was teasing. Love this!

  4. JViola79 says

    Oh my gosh. So glad that I stopped to read this post. This is beautiful & every woman needs to read this. So very true. I needed to read that true beauty is never staying the same, constantly growing, living in truth. Thank you!

  5. Mia says

    Dear Laura
    It is so difficult in a world where beauty gets thrown at us as skinny, young, flawless, wrinkle free skin etc. to see that real beauty lies in a still, quiet and peaceful spirit. And that, dear friend, usually walks hand in hand with grey hair, wrinkles, sagging breasts and just getting old. I had to giggle at your parading in front of the mirror. I could see myself in your words!!!
    Blessings XX
    Mia

  6. soulstops says

    Dear Laura,
    oh, yes…to live in the truth of our beauty before God and to deny the lie that beauty is only skin-deep, and not very deep, without wrinkles…I hope you know you are beautiful in your words and how you live your life and I am so happy I get to hug you in person next week 🙂

  7. soulstops says

    P.S. I hope you don’t mind this suggestion…maybe this might be an opportunity to have a talk with your son about what did he mean by his comment and what it provoked in you…just a thought….feel free to disregard 🙂

  8. Kelly Hausknecht Chripczuk says

    I have been thinking about this lately, this quarrel with my body that betrayed me by going ahead and creating TWO babies, not one, and now sags from the wear of it. And I’m hearing the invitation to come home to her, to me, to embrace the wisdom and strength of such a body. It’s such a courageuos thing to do. And, for me, it’s starting with a return to yoga and jeans and shoes that really fit and standing with my feet flat on the ground. Thanks for sharing such a personal reflection.

  9. says

    It IS beauty, the way the body changes to birth new life. I wonder what it will take to make society see it that way, Kelly? Maybe if we live into that belief a little better–if I live into that belief. That’s what I’m asking myself–do I really believe this is beautiful? And I know I do, but reconciling that with the societal norms… this I need to work on. Yoga is good.

  10. says

    We talk about EVERYTHING in this house, Dolly (poor kids don’t have a chance with both parents in psychology). I think that may be why he felt free to say what he said. I think he’ll be more sensitive in the future…:)

  11. says

    I know what you are saying, Mia. It’s funny that I see the beauty of the years in others but it’s harder when I look in the mirror :). The age-old problem (pun intended) :).

  12. says

    I’m so glad it spoke to you, friend. God set eternity in our hearts–I think it is a natural human desire to long for the young, healthy body. We were created for that. But in the meantime, learning to love this broken old body can be a challenge. It helps me to try to see the way I think God sees. In a glass dimly, right?

  13. says

    Yes, and as His image-bearers, we carry the beauty of the Holy. My son was being naughty, as moody teenagers are sometimes. But I think he’ll be more careful with his words in the future 🙂

  14. lindalouise says

    I am stepping closer to seven decades and sometimes wonder who the old woman in the mirror is. Some days I embrace this aging self – and others I feel marginalized by youth. I will treasure these words Laura.

  15. Caryn Jenkins Christensen says

    How you got connected ‘Tree’ and beauty within and toward ourselves…absolutely brilliant. Stunning imagery (as usual) in your words Laura! I’ve been wrestling with the image in the mirror and thoughts of growing older gracefully…and get stuck in simply not wanting to grow older. I am bookmarking THIS. As Diana T. said, I should read this every day. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and words with us. What a gift!

  16. soulstops says

    Hi Laura,
    I apologize for my suggestion…I am sure you talk about everything and I really shouldn’t have said anything…..and that is great that you have such an open dialogue with your kids…sorry…

  17. Beth Hildebrand says

    Beautiful words!!! You stopped by my blog last week and I wanted to come say hi here. (I have a 14 year old son too…how fun!) So glad I stopped by! Blessings!

  18. Patricia Spreng says

    Thank you Laura for penning such beauty into thoughts we all share in that forest. It is clear your words and imagery came from God himself in answering your questions, How do we give truth to others in a way that they will believe? How do we receive truth?
    I love how he does that. = )

  19. says

    Oh, goodness, Dolly, there’s no need to apologize. When we meet, I hope you’ll see that I’m not a person who is easily offended. It’s different with boys–especially teenage boys. I’ve had to learn how to grow into a way of keeping the dialogue open. They don’t always respond, but one thing they know: mom will always bring it. I hope one day it all amounts to something…in their own families and their lives in general. I appreciate the comment, and your thoughtful heart, my friend.

  20. says

    I’m so glad this spoke to you, Caryn. Diana is the kindest of friends; I’m glad she sent you this way. I wrestle through these things a lot lately. Our world is so much about the quick fix–you know? I’ve been thinking about the ways God put us together…how faithful my body has been to me. I want to honor that gift. I’m still figuring it out. Thank you for your kind encouragement.

  21. says

    Hey, YOU! I love seeing your beautiful face here. I’ve been praying for you since our quick chats at Allume. Maybe one day we will get to have a slow talk. Sending you some love today.

  22. soulstops says

    Laura,
    Thanks for the grace…I have learned something, and I did not mean to imply you were easily offended …it was more that I try very hard to not offend or give unsolicited advice, plus I forgot we are not sitting next to each other and chatting like friends …look forward to meeting you, my friend.
    Shalom,
    Dolly

  23. Caryn Jenkins Christensen says

    Yes, I AM thankful for a body that has served me well and it’s been more faithful to me, than I have been to it!

  24. Nancy Sturm says

    As one who started graying at 22, I can relate to this. It’s sad that we fail to see the beauty that time bestows in ourselves and others. Thank you, beautiful lady, for this lovely bit of encouragement and love.

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