The Wrinkling Clock: The Irony of Calendar Girls
Chances are, no matter which work truck I’m assigned for the day, there will be a handful of beautiful women in the cab with me. It may be a frosty January morning, but there will be Cindy, clad in nothing but her hot pink two-piece, sunning on a beach, her youthful body contorted in a way that can’t be comfortable. Veronica in March, Becky in June, Crystal in November. Of course, they all have snow-white teeth, sun-kissed skin, ample bosoms. And, of course, they all have their lips ever so slightly parted, in that come-and-get-me-big-boy kind of way. When you’re a calendar girl, the calendar doesn’t matter. Every day is summer, every locale a beach, every closet full of nothing but two miniature articles of clothing, just enough to cover the bare essentials.
As January passes to February, and February to March, the girls too pass away, their paper icons torn off, crumpled up, and tossed into the nearest trash. Another month, another girl. Time marches on, but youthful beauty remains.
Yes, youth and beauty remain, but only if we keep replacing the beautiful youths. On some of them, varicose veins will snake through their once sun-kissed skin. Hungry babies will put those ample breasts to work someday, doing what God ordained breasts to do. Too many cups of coffee, too many packs of cigarettes, will make keeping those teeth white a daunting challenge. Or maybe November’s Crystal will simply give up and opt for dentures. I doubt they’ll be donning bikinis and sunning on a beach to the click-click of the photographer in ten, twenty, thirty years. The calendar will have its way with these calendar girls. It will have its way with us all.
There is irony everywhere in this world, including the cabs of Freightliners and Fords, where these images of youth are joined to that medium which marks the passage of time, and the passing away of youth. What is it that Isaiah says?
“All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.”
The flower of youth, as lovely as it is, cannot withstand the hot winds of time. Even those men and women who appear decades younger than they actually are, will, someday, inevitably, look old. Even Dick Clark eventually looked like an old codger.
There is a beauty, however, that remains, that the calendar cannot touch. It is a loveliness deeper than skin. It is the stunning beauty of a woman who has been bathed, robed, and kissed by the Lord above, whose embrace imparts a beauty not of this world. “The word of our God stands forever,” Isaiah says. And that word stands to raise up fallen women, to wash away the filth of sin, to dress them in robes of righteousness, to adorn them with the diamonds of grace and pearls of holiness. In other words, that word puts Jesus on them, in them, through them. And in him, who is alpha and omega, before time and beyond time, they are safe from the calendar. They are beautiful beyond words, for they are beautiful in Christ. And in him, dear ladies, is a loveliness that will never fade.
What we need in our fragmented world, full of hurting people, is the love of Jesus Christ, who welcomes home sinners with a grace that knows no bounds. My book Christ Alone: Meditations and Sermons, is packed with reflections that go that extra mile of grace. Again and again, they present the Christ who is crucified and risen for you. Please take a moment to check it out here. You may also be interested in my collections of hymns and poetry entitled, The Infant Priest, which you can purchase here. Both books are also available on Amazon, as is my booklet Why Lutherans Sing What They Sing (also on Kindle). Thank you for your prayers and support!