older, but wiser?

It’s my birthday today, which has me pondering my “graceful” (ahem) transition into maturity.


Well, I’m a grandmother, but I’m still a girl, darn it, and I still struggle with self-image issues. And birthdays tend to make us think about these things.

I came across a funny story from Fr. Steve Baumbusch, who, coincidently, is also celebrating his birthday today. It made me laugh and realize once more that it ain’t about physical beauty, because the standards for that are always changing, and if I lived in another country (or another time period) I might be considered the cat’s meow.

It’s the inside beauty that counts, right? The kind of beauty that comes from knowing we’re made in God’s image.

Ponder that, and then read this amusing anecdote. (And pray for Fr. Steve and me as we celebrate one more year!)

From the Philippines:
…then at dinner one night, one of the students who lives at the convento asked me: “Father, which one of you is mas guwapo (more handsome)?” This is not really an uncommon question when they are trying to make conversation. “I don’t know,” I said. “What do you think?” “Oh, pareho (equal), Father,” she said diplomatically, and then added, “But you know, Father, he’s mas puti (whiter) than you are.” “Oh,” I said, “and mas puti means mas guwapo, right?” She just kind of shrugged, but I know that that’s true. While we in the States like to darken our skin with the sun or even tanning booths, in the Philippines, where everyone is dark-skinned, the lighter the better. In the big cities they even have “whitening centers”, and it’s not for their teeth. They have different ideas about weight than we do too. We always want to take it off and become as thin as we can, but here it’s considered attractive to be a little fat. It shows that you are well-nourished, even a little well-off financially. We think of the hourglass as the ideal figure for a woman; if Filipinos want to compliment a woman on her figure, they say she has a coca-cola body, resembling a coke bottle, and if it happens to be the “family size” as opposed to the twelve-ounce, that’s OK too.


4 thoughts on “older, but wiser?

  1. Although it’s too late, I still say “Happy birthday to you”. I accidentally found your blog because today I just made a friend from Papua Gew Guinea. I heard the country is so strange for me. So I googled it and saw your nice picture in which a man stands in front of the waterfall. Nice to meet you.

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