If you met me on the street, you might mistake me for someone whose mother didn’t teach him how to present himself in a tidy and respectable matter. At this stage in life, I accept that possibility, because I am perfectly content with old clothes, a battered baseball cap and uncombed eyebrows. (Some of you old guys out there may know what I mean, right?)
On one hand, this phenomenon is not to be encouraged among the elderly. NOT taking care of one’s self could signal possible depression, dementia or disregard of the conventions of civility. None of us wants to communicate those danger signals.
In my case, I’m not depressed and as yet not experiencing the symptoms of dementia. I am a spiritually-upright citizen, aware of my societal responsibilities, including my general appearance. I have standards, too!
Here’s what’s going on with my clean-but-shabby hat: When I was younger, had more hair on my head and kept my eyebrows well-combed, I fancied myself a cool guy, keeping up with fashion trends that assured my overall attractiveness. But some of that was vanity: Thinking of myself more highly than I ought. Valuing appearance over other qualities of the good life; sometimes letting spiritual health slide while spending too much time trying to look good.
At this stage in life, I’m trying to grow out of that approach to living. My scruffy cap is a visual reminder about the perils of vanity. Narcissism—a deeper difficulty within an idolatrous human spirit—still stalks my self-concept. Wanting to be attractive to others still lurks out there in my self-talk, inviting me to any number of other egotistical behaviors or attitudes. So I wear a beat-up cap to help me remember that I came this far by God’s grace.
Rowdy eyebrows and all….
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