Let me say it loud and proud: I’m 37-years-old, and I have gray hairs.
As a child, each time my grandma had a birthday, she’d always tell me she was 29. And I believed it for a few years, but soon I grew wiser, and saw through her thin lie. Then I’d just chuckle when she’d say it again the following year. “Oh, Grandma! You’re not 29! You’d be younger than my mom!” I’d say. Then she would laugh. It was one of the few times she’d joke around.
My grandma’s response to aging is typical, a humorous wish to turn back the clock on wrinkles, sagging breasts and age spots. I never knew her natural hair color. She came from the generation who had her hair done weekly at the salon: colored a brownish-red, teased for volume, and sprayed into a tidy, impenetrable sphere around her head. She slept with her head wrapped in toilet paper held together with bobby pins. I have no idea how that kept her hair looking good all week, but it seemed to do the trick. I’m pretty sure she would have rather faced a firing squad than let her hair go gray, and that always fascinated me. Gray hair was obviously a big deal to her.
A few months ago, I came across this verse:
Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life. (Proverbs 16:31)
At the time, my head was sprouting gray hairs a little more frequently, and I answered back by plucking each one out as I found them. It wasn’t that getting older bothered me much. But I reasoned if I had just a few grays, why not yank them out until they’re too numerous. I had already decided not to color my hair as I got older. My body is super-sensitive to chemicals, and my husband actually said he wants me to go gray. We said we’d grow old and gray together, after all!
But those few strands of gray hair begged me—dared me—to grab and pull. Each time I went to the bathroom, I’d do a quick scan of my scalp without even thinking about it. Then once I found the offender, I’d pluck the sucker out. It was oddly satisfying, and yet I felt a fleeting pang of guilt, too.
Then recently, one strand of stubborn gray hair would not release from my head. Being short and hard to hold, my grip slipped off with every yank no matter how hard I tried. Frustrated, I took a step back. That familiar flash of regret settled on me. Was God trying to say something to me about these gray hairs he put on my head? Proverbs 16:31 flooded my mind.
Really, God, a crown of glory?
I did not feel like my gray hairs were a crown at all. But God sees aging differently than we do. He tells us getting older is awesome and to be accepted with joy. He says, “Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.” (Job 12:12) He tells me I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).
With each pluck, the twinge of guilt got stronger. I felt convicted with each yank of a silver strand to stop and accept the beauty of aging.
Okay, God. I get it. No more pulling out my gray hairs. Instead, proudly wear my crown for others.
This is just the beginning. But soon, I’ll be a brunette with streaks of silver. And you know what’s funny? Oddly, I’m looking forward to it.
Now I’d love to hear from you!
What are your thoughts on aging? What is God saying to you about getting older?