By Reba Phelps
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom that was apparently was showing itself as fine lines and wrinkles on my face.
One day, during the cheerful and care-free days prior to COVID19, I found myself completely enjoying the scenery at the Mall of Louisiana in Baton Rouge. All alone, I was away at a meeting and was taking in the solitude and freedom of browsing at my own pace. I could linger in a store for hours and not buy a thing…. I had no one rushing me or complaining.
If you have been to mall within the last ten years you should be familiar with the micro-stores that occupy the middle of the walking isles. They are normally peddling anything from 5 minute massages to hair bows and monogrammed goodies. Sometimes there is artwork or home decor and even pots and pans. On this particular trip I noticed a skin care pop-up shop.
As I was strolling by I was stopped by a friendly salesman who complimented my skin. He told me I looked so youthful and must not even be in my thirties yet. I can spot a good salesman anytime I see one but this one had a sweet foreign accent and I just adored him right off the bat… so I indulged him. He asked what products I use and then went on to say that I must be so committed to my regiment because I looked flawless.
I was totally enamored with his whole sales pitch and bought into it hook, line and sinker. I found myself explaining my facial regimen to him, which barely consists of soap and water. He asked me to step inside of his mini-salon so he could see my skin in his special light. Once I entered he sat me in a chair and began his inspection in front of a lighted mirror.
He pointed to the lines around my lips and said, “you see these deeps lines around your mouth?”. I responded with a short head nod. Without hesitation he went on to say. “this is not from years of happiness and smiling, this is because your face has fallen over time.”
Just wow. I thought it was because I literally smile all the time. Nope. Not true. My face fell and it could not get back up.
He told me he had a cream to fix that. He then examined my larger than normal forehead and pointed out the many lines I have in that area. His special light was beginning to hurt my feelings and I believe it was creating lines that were not there before.
He hastily shared, “these lines are from years of neglect, sunshine, aging and not even surgery could repair this damage.”
But he had a cream to fix this too. He asked if he could wipe off my makeup and show me this magical potion. Before I could politely object he was smothering me with a wipe. He had taken off only half of my makeup so I could see the miraculous difference that his cream offered. He pulled out a spackle-type tool and went to work on my forehead. As he worked he explained he was filling the holes, defects and small cracks.
I honestly felt like a piece of drywall getting a new coat of paint.
Once he finished, my forehead felt like concrete. But, to his merit, he covered all of my imperfections. I was perfect. Or, at least half of my face was. Nonetheless, I am not one to spackle and fill my lines on a daily basis. I am too busy and uninterested so I knew I wasn’t going to buy his product.
I thanked him for his time and advised him I had to leave. He looked so depressed as I was gathering my purse and leaving his shop of horrors. He abruptly stopped me again and said, “I also have a special cream for the dreadful damage on you neck and I can get you an appointment at our spa upstairs for more intensive procedures.”
At this point, I knew that I was not as in deplorable shape as he made me feel and I did not want to spend money with a business that played on insecurities of women. I just gathered what was left of my dignity and walked away with my spackled and filled forehead.
My friends, we mean so much more to our creator than fine lines and wrinkles.
In world full of fillers and filters, that only offer temporary beauty to the outside, I hope you remember and cherish the fact that you were knitted in your mother’s womb to look just the way God wanted you to look. Society is the one who tells us that we should not look our age and that we would be much happier with the youthful glow that fillers and filters offer.
There is no doubt that God wants us to take care of our temple but I believe he is more interested in the condition of our spirit and the wisdom gained internally…..not so much concerned with the condition of our exterior.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know full well.” – Psalm 139:13-14