By Joseph J. Mazzella
Bend! Push! Lift! Toss! Bend! Push! Lift! Toss! I was slowly shoveling out my driveways, porches, and pathways from five inches of freshly fallen snow. My new snow shovel was working well but my body was feeling its fifty years and my bad back was feeling more like eighty. Still, I had shoveled out from deeper snows than this before, so I kept at it. I breathed in the frosty air and hummed a few songs as I worked. After about forty minutes the job was done and I stretched out my stiff and sore back. Then I did something I hadn’t done in years. I fell back into the snow and made a snow angel.
Suddenly, I felt five again and I laughed as I walked back into the house. I think a part of me expected to see my five year old face staring back at me when I looked into the batroom mirror, but it was not to be. There instead was my unshaven, fifty year old face with its salt and pepper hair and deep set wrinkles. There were lots of laugh lines but some pain lines as well. When I looked a little closer, though, I saw the five year old twinkling in my eyes. It was good to know that he was still in there and that on the inside I remained both ageless and forever young.
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross once wrote: “Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms, you would never see the beauty of the carvings.” My own face has seen a lot of windstorms over the years. It has suffered a lot, learned a lot, and loved a lot. It has also grown kinder, more compassionate, and closer to God. I think I prefer it to its younger versions that I can still see in the pictures on my walls. Every time it smiles I love seeing it crinkle up and love seeing that eternal five year old still shining behind those eyes.
Our lives will always line our faces and our souls will always shine in our eyes. All we can do is fill them both with all the love, laughter, and light we can. May you do so always.