You Get The Face You Deserve

By Joseph J. Mazzella • April 8, 2024

I walked into the bathroom this morning to shave. A part of me wished that I could do it with my eyes closed. I hadn’t enjoyed looking at my reflection in the mirror lately. It just looked too OLD for my 57 years. The thinning hair on my balding head was almost all silver gray now. There were way too many age spots from being out in the sun so much in the last 50 years. There were also deep lines in my forehead from a half century of grimaces because of my daily back pain. The skin looked thin and sunken in on my cheeks from my having lost weight recently. And there were bags under my eyes from not being able to sleep as long and deeply as I used to. Even the stubble on my chin was getting white in spots.

After I finished shaving I looked in the mirror again. My face looked a little sad so I decided to try a smile instead. Suddenly, something miraculous occurred. Fresh wrinkles appeared but they actually looked pretty good. Deep laugh lines curved up from my eyes and around my smile. The forehead wrinkles eased and eyes below them seemed so full of kindness, joy, and love. Even my teeth seemed to sparkle and I looked far younger and happier than I had only a few moments ago. I walked out of the bathroom with that smile on my face and also in my heart.

Grace Paley once said: “You get the face you deserve.” That has certainly been true for me. Age, sun damage, and back pain are all there in it. But a life lived with kindness, love, and joy are there as well. And the deeper those wrinkles around my eyes and mouth get the more I thank God for them. They are evidence of a million smiles. They are evidence of His Love.

And the good news is no matter how old you get it is never too late to deepen an old laugh line or create a new one. It is never too late to let God’s Love live through your heart, shine through your life, and show up in your smile.


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