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Birthday Feet

Jan 10, 2013

My feet are different this year.

I spend time looking at them every single year on my birthday. Not sure how or why I developed this silly habit but for at least twenty solid years I’ve had a tradition of looking down at my feet while I shower on the morning of my birthday. Of course, I see my feet every time I take a shower but on my birthday it’s different.

I study my feet.

Sounds strange, I know. But I bet you’ve got a few strange habits yourself, huh? Strange habits are like weird relatives. . . everybody’s got at least one.

So, I stand underneath the flow of water, look down the five feet-seven inches to my toes and just stare. I guess I’m curious to see if age will cause any variations that I’ll notice from year to year. Most every single birthday yields little to talk about. There is nothing life changing or soul altering that happens during my feet-staring ritual. God doesn’t usually speak to me or give me a mission and vision for the next year of my life. Usually, it’s uneventful.

They are uneventful.

They look the same.

Not this year.

I stood in the shower on my 38th birthday and for the first time noticed they were different. These nearly 40-year-old feet were flatter than the ones I’d remembered seeing before and the right one had a faint 2-in scar running vertically underneath it’s big toe – honestly acquired during a minor surgery. My eyes widened as I realized that for the first time in this 20-year-old habit, something had changed.

I picked up one leg and pulled it upward so I could get a closer look and grabbed a pinch of the thin skin on top. It wrinkled up between my fingers and then took its sweet time getting back into its place when I let go. This skin was different. Not nearly as elastic as it had been when I was eighteen.

For the 1st time ever, in all these years of looking and wondering if there’d be a change. . .there was one.

Uh-hem . . .a few.

Well now, this personal epiphany of age started a poking and pinching mission. After I dried off and put on my pajamas I stood in the mirror and looked – looked – at myself. Soon, I dug out a photo from a decade earlier for comparison and realized quickly that my feet weren’t the only things that had changed through the years. As I suspected, the wrinkles that show up on the side of my eyes when I smile now were nowhere to be found near those grinning eyes in the photo. My lower tummy that is in a consistently distended and softened position was much flatter and firmer in the photo. The younger version of my thigh muscle was much more defined compared with the cushion I felt there now. And my feet . .my feet looked, well. . .younger. The veins weaving there way around underneath the skin weren’t nearly as visible, that’s for doggone sure. And, my feet appeared smaller – a bit more dainty somehow.

I know these changes haven’t happened overnight. It has been a slow and gradual process but, on this birthday, it all came down like a ton of bricks on my head. I wasn’t sad about it. . .just thoughtful and pensive . . .

. . . in a scream-at-the-top-of-my-lungs kind of way.

Well golly, I guess I should pull out some hidden spiritual principle for you to consider now or at least pinpoint some deeper profound meaning behind my aged feet for you to ponder before you click your way to another site. And Lord knows that I can indeed see some – like how we should all be encouraged and consistent in our walks with Christ because change is happening all along the way even when we don’t notice it until later. Or I could encourage us all through that Scripture verse that tells us about the inward renewal of the spirit when our outward body is decaying.

Sure. . I could.

But, I don’t think I want to. I’d rather just tell you that I’m getting old and my body is telling me so. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I am old. Just acknowledging the passage of time and the residue the years are leaving behind.

This body is changing  – Lord have mercy, it’s changing. Not just in theory but in a way that is bold and stark and unashamed to make it’s presence known.

Lord help me – help us –  to age with grace and dignity, poise and pride. Help us to maintain our fervor and passion; our zest and zeal; our humility and modesty.

Teach us to be comfortable in our own skin – even when it wrinkles, scars or thins.

And help these feet of ours to carry us steady until they carry us – flat footed – into glory with you.


Going to get a pedicure,