Today on the way home from work, I called my honey to see what the plans were for dinner tonight. He told me he was going to the cinema to buy ticket for our friends and us to see the "Pirates of the Caribbean" sequel on Saturday. So sweet! (And it was a good thing he bought them in advance too because they were almost sold out! Can you believe it? Going to a movie here is such an ordeal!) Anyway he decided to buy a variety of mandu to bring home for our dinner. Yummy!
Since he was being such a star I thought I would surprise him with some flowers from the little stall that's on my walk home. The little old lady who runs it was just closing up and threw in some free pink lilies with the Easter lilies that I bought for $10. Love Korea! I came home, cut and arranged them in the vase. Then I did something my mother taught me long ago. I carefully removed the brown anthers that contained the pollen. This way the sticky pistil will never get pollinated and the lily will stay open longer! Pretty neat huh?
This got me thinking about a comment my good friend and former coworker made to me at a dinner we had with his new wife and him. He said that my boyfriend was looking younger and younger. I really didn't have any answer for him at the time but it did make me wonder: Are we like the de-anthered lilies? Has Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth finally been discovered by "the gays?"
I'll be the first to admit that this is a ridiculous notion. It's just as silly to imply being part of the "mainstream culture" has an aging affect. However the pursuit of youth is quite strong in the gay community. It's common for us to refer to each other as "boys" (or "girls" depending on the person!) . And many of us do contribute a sizeable portion of our disposable income to skin and hair products. Even yours truly has fallen suspectible to the luxuries of massages, pedicures, manicures and facials. They take off years, I tell ya! Let's not forget the frequent visits to the gym (known as "gay church" in some circles) and heightened awareness of healthy eating! Furthermore, living with a hairdresser, it's only natural I reap the advantages of well-styled hair and gray-concealing color. And while I hate to be stereotypical (although stereotypes exist because often they contain an element of truth), the "Mo's" are known for their forward fashion sense! All these elements combined tend to give some of us a more youthful appearance.
On the flipside, it's a miracle that some gays look good at all with so many aging factors present. Many are victims of overexposure to the sun or tanning booths. The gay community has higher rate of smoking than other groups and diseases related to smoking are the leading causes of death among gay people (not AIDS). There is prevalent drug use (Last Saturday my boyfriend walked into the bathroom to discover boys doing lines off the counter. Gross! That bathroom hasn't been cleaned in AGES. We got outta there!) not to mention frequent binge drinking and insanely late hours. Not much beauty sleep going on some nights!
The Bible has great things to say about being young and trying staying that way! Here's one I liked: (Isaiah 103:2-5)
2 Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-
3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
I love that image of being given a little tiara of love and compassion!
Here's another passage I like: (Ecclesiastes 11:8-10)
8 However many years a man may live, let him enjoy them all. But let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. Everything to come is meaningless.
9 Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment.
10 So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body, for youth and vigor are meaningless.
I interpret this passage to mean that we should value the life and abilities that God has blessed us with, knowing that we have consequences for our choices. I also really like that it says not to worry so much about growing older and having increasing physical problems the older we get because these things aren't what's really important. Again, it's how we use the resources and talents we have been given.
Sorry I know this is probably getting old but I want to end with one last scripture. I've always loved it and I was delighted to learn that it was also the favorite scripture of my grandfather and namesake. I repeat these verses to myself on mornings that I hate getting up and visualize men struggling to get up and then morphing into eagles taking off to fly high in the sky! I hope it will help you through your day as well!(Isaiah 40:29-31)
29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.