Story by Joseph J. Mazzella (Author)
I woke up in the middle of the night with a start. My aging and aching back had jolted me awake with a sharp pain. I got up and stretched in the dark until it eased, laid back down again, and shut my eyes. I couldn’t go back to sleep, though. Finally, I gave up and switched on the television. One of those early morning infomercials was on. Two women were going on and on about a new product that hid the wrinkles around their eyes and mouths. I watched for a minute then switched it back off. One thought came to my mind: “Why are they erasing the evidence of so much laughter and so many smiles?”
I walked into my bathroom, turned on the light, and looked into the mirror. My own laugh lines were deeper and more numerous than ever. They rippled out from my smile and my eyes like waves of joy and I loved the way they looked. There was nothing ugly about them at all. They spoke of countless thousands of smiles, wonderful moments of laughter, and a life lived in happiness as much as possible. I certainly didn’t look as young as I once did, but I still wouldn’t trade my wrinkles for the world.
There are many parts of aging that I could do without. I would love to have the energy, eyesight, and muscle mass I had at eighteen. My aching back I would give up without a second thought. But I want to keep my laugh lines right where they are. They are the road map of my life. They are a painting of my choices. They are the evidence of a life well-lived and a life well-loved. I think that the Hand of God helps to draw those lines around our eyes and mouth so that we can recognize the kindness and goodness in ourselves and in others. Don’t cover yours up then. Show them off. Give them a workout. Make them deeper with every smile you share. Let them shine in your laughter and in your love for all your life here.