The Gift-Wrapped Jewel.
I looked in the mirror and what did I see,
but a little old lady peering back at me
With bags and sags and wrinkles and wispy white hair,
and I asked my reflection, “How did you get there?”
You once were straight and vigorous and now you're stooped and weak,
when I tried so hard to keep you from becoming an antique.
My reflection's eyes twinkled as she solemnly replied:
“You're looking at the gift wrap and not the jewel inside.
A living gem and precious, of unimagined worth
Unique and true, the real you, the only you on Earth
The years that spoil your gift wrap with other things more cruel,
should purify and strengthen, and polish up that jewel
So focus your attention on the inside, not the out
On being kinder, wiser, more content and more devout
Then, when your gift wrap's stripped away your jewel will be set free,
to radiate God's glory throughout eternity.”
Wanda B. Goines
wrote this poem when she was 92 years old.
September 4, 2015
The internal beauty of the Elderly.
In modern western society we tend to marginalize our old and aging. We tuck them away in retirement villages and old age homes. Not so much because the old and infirm are a burden – maybe because we ourselves fear ageing and want nothing to remind us of our own, all too fast, passage through time.
Unfortunately we discard the fantastic reserve of hard-earned experience and wisdom which older people possess. They have been through numerous trials and tribulations, have learned ways of coping with many of life's toughest problems, and can be an invaluable resource of sage counsel to younger people lacking this experience. Such a priceless store of knowledge is acquired only over the course of many years. But instead of developing and using this valuable asset to the full, it is callously cast aside for the transitory advantage of youth.
In contrast, many “primitive” societies know how to utilize experience acquired over time and revere the vessels that hold those treasures.
In the autumn of 2015, at the age of 92, Ms. Wanda B. Goines wrote a poem that took the internet by storm. Wanda’s caretaker, Kathryn Wilson, was so touched by the poem that she decided to record Wanda reciting her own words as well as publishing the poem online.
From the very first line, I was hooked on Wanda’s wise words about the aging body vs. the timeless soul — and I hope you will also understand why it has gone viral.
I make no apology for quoting the words of an older and wiser woman. Wanda B. Goines described the beauty that comes from within far better than I can – I can only try to capture a glimpse of it with my camera.