I watched my mother turn 90 years old this past September. That seems unsurprising, given that she was 89 years old when the month began. But the transformation in my mother's age had very little to do with the turning of a calendar's page.
Mom came walking down her hallway the night before her birthday, not knowing that I had already come back from my brother's house next door. She was wearing her nightgown, but was NOT wearing either her wig or her dentures. There, before my eyes, my mother was revealed to be a 90-year-old woman, her hair thin, white and wispy, her chin recessed, and her lips pursed.
My mother would be surprised at my reaction, for I found her to be beautiful that night. She was much more beautiful than the carefully coifed, artificially embellished pseudo-75-year-old I had grown accustomed to seeing. I felt as though I was viewing her through God's eyes -- seeing her as she really was, rather than as she wished for the world to see her.
I had observed other things during the course of my week-long visit: Mom's dementia, her pettiness, her self-centeredness, her borderline obsessive-compulsive disorder, and her tendency to be harshly judgmental in a way I found painful.
But the image of my mother in the hallway that evening put all these imperfections into perspective. My mother is a small, weak, frail, and very old woman. If she is flawed, perhaps it is a result of the scuffs and mars from 90 years of living, loving, grieving, and striving.
So I think I'll cut Mom some slack. I'll try to maintain that vision from the hallway and love her for her for who she is, rather than who I wish her to be. Maybe that's gracious. Maybe that's grace.
God's eyes, indeed.