|John Ormond, 23 (Dad)|
I had a profound conversation with my Father a long time ago. The sentiment he expressed with a wistful sadness resonated deep within me. Our conversation had taken a philosophic turn about life and he said,
“You know Ann, when I look in the mirror I don’t know the old man face looking back at me.”
With a sigh he continued, “And when I realize the old man face is me, I am shocked because the face I expect to see is 23. Inside my face is 23."
I looked into his eyes and was surprised because for a split second I caught a glimpse my Father's 23 year old inner self.
I hadn’t reached the stage in my life where I did not recognize the face in the mirror nor had I experienced shock at the reflection looking back at me. But I understood the sentiment he was trying to convey. It seemed a truth to me. Once I heard it my being knew it. I was deeply moved as he struggled to reconcile his inner self image with the outer appearance time had dealt him. My father was about the age I am now when we had this conversation.
The reason this is on my mind, well I recently looked into the mirror and guess what, I gasped at the old lady face looking back at me. I had to look deeply into her eyes before I saw myself. In my mind’s eye I am the 30 year old woman my father confided his struggle in that day.
I began wondering why the reflection I expected to see was my 30 year old self. Was it because at this time in my life, I had my beautiful children, full of life and vibrant around me? Was it because I lived in my dream house and when I closed the front door against the world each night I felt safe and contented? Was it because this was the decade of my life when all the planets seemed to align. I was young, healthy, with a wonderful husband, four beautiful, healthy children and a life filled with possibilities. This led me to speculate about my father’s age of contentment and endless possibilities. Was it 23?
|Dad & me at 30|
At times I grapple with age, but I don’t give it over much thought. Except of course on those occasions I don’t recognize the face in the mirror looking back at me. When it does happen though, that moment, that split second of not recognizing self is not quite as shocking or distressing as it might have been, because my Father forewarned me. He had prepared me
Ever since that conversation when I look at an elderly man or woman, I immediately wonder what face is in their mind’s eye. Sometimes I cringe when the elderly are patronized, because I know in their mind's eye they are not the feeble bodies, gnarled hands and worn faces the world sees. They are not that face in mirror. And if you look closely…very closely and deeply into their eyes you might get lucky and catch a glimpse of their inner self.
When you look in the mirror what face do you expect to see?