In her weekly column for the Peace Weekly a religious sister reminds us that we are responsible as we age for the face we have. This is because of our repeated thoughts, emotions, and actions which constitute who we are.
She mentions going to her hometown and meeting her old friends after many years, the gestures and expressions still remained. "With the passage of time you are the same." "You haven't changed much either." "Really?"
For a while, she felt she was in a time machine that brought her back to her school. days. "But at this age, I studied well, was smart and was pretty… It's all useless." "I have a lot of friends who seem unhappy even with a lot of money." "Yes, that's right. Now I can see how I lived just by looking at my face." "Persons with the radiant faces, putting all together, seemed to have a postive outlook and enjoyed life."
At that moment, she remembered a friend whom she met by chance last year. She remembered her pretty face from their school days, enough to make one jealous. But the friend when encountered, her face was distorted and looked much older than she actually was. Her friend seemed to have anger written on her face as if pursued from the look in her eyes. 'Ah, this friend is not happy; life must have been rough. Yes, that's right. I'm responsible for my face as I get older.'
Then a friend began to tell his story with a serious expression on his face. "I actually lived for a long time a life that was close to death. There was no hope at that time and I wished death. Then one day I looked in the mirror; I was surprised for a monster was staring back at me. A monster… . This was crazy to be living like this and it shouldn't be."
This friend's confession rang a bell in her. Should we not be messingers of joy to others? As we were talking her brother and sister joined them. My friend greeted my family and we remained in conversation for some time before we separated. On the way home her brother said:
"Sister, that friend of yours must have had a peaceful life the way he was laughing and full of joy." Yes, it was a happy face she quietly responded.
She recalls a friend who was overcome with thoughts and wishes for death on occasions too many to count. The friend tried to rid her self of the stress and depression with a strong spiritual life. She decided to give this friend a telephone call. She was successful in riding herself of the monster and wants to tell her to look at the real self in the mirror.
Sister often looks into the mirror too. As you grow older, you see white hair, blemishes, liver spots, and wrinkles. But when you get trapped looking at the outer appearance, you don't see the real self.
"My face, which I must be held accountable for as I get older, my habits have become what I am today. Repeated thoughts, emotions, and actions gather overtime on the face. Our footprints in life are left all over the face. My face is a puzzle that is open to everyone."