A Christian Science perspective.
Legendary baseball Hall-of-Famer Satchel Paige once asked, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?” He offered another thought-provoking quote related to age: “Age is mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.”
Throughout history, the desire to prolong youth and vitality has captivated many. Perhaps the person linked most closely to the search for the elusive fountain of youth is 16th-century explorer Juan Ponce de León, whose expedition took him to Florida, to no avail.
The desire for magical water, tonics, or treatments continues today. In fact, one could say we live in an age-obsessed society, where people feel driven to attain the media’s portrayal of beauty, as “touched up” as it is.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to put your best face forward, and it’s encouraging to hear that “50 is the new 30” and that a productive life doesn’t end at a certain age. A healthy lifestyle and a positive attitude go a long way toward living a purposeful life.
Despite our best efforts, however, there comes a time when many of us may not be satisfied with our reflection in the mirror; we tend to focus on the imperfections. But there is more to us than physical features. What about that concept of inner beauty?
I’ve found it helpful to turn to the Bible for answers. As recorded in the Gospel of John, Jesus offers a woman a drink from a unique source: “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (4:14). Jesus introduced the renewable, spiritual source of life – one that is attainable here and now.
In “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy sheds some light on this topic: “Let us feel the divine energy of Spirit, bringing us into newness of life ...” (p. 249). She also said: “Life is eternal. We should find this out, and begin the demonstration thereof. Life and goodness are immortal. Let us then shape our views of existence into loveliness, freshness, and continuity, rather than into age and blight” (p. 246). Mrs. Eddy proved this. At the age of 87, when most people have long since retired, she launched the Monitor.
It would be helpful to view ourselves and others with more accepting and less critical eyes. I’ve been able to do this when I’ve focused less on physical attributes and more on spiritual qualities. Then, this statement from "Science and Health" rings true: “One marvels that a friend can ever seem less than beautiful” (p. 248). Beauty is there; we just have to behold it.
Society may continue to bombard us with the idea that we shouldn’t show signs of aging. But as children of God, we are each blessed and eternal. And the more we express Godliness in all that we do, the more spirituality is our reality, reflected even in the mirror.