I was recently blessed by the opportunity to review the book, True Radiance, Finding Grace in the Second Half of Life, by Lisa Mladinich. Through a delicate crafting of intimate self-disclosure, Sacred Scripture, Catechism of the Catholic Church, interviews with women and Saint stories, Lisa draws us into a deeper understanding of beauty. She challenges commonly held ideas of what makes a woman beautiful and emphasizes ways to look through the lens of Christian spirituality to see, "True Radiance!"
The author explains, "The world peddles falsehood and despair because it is profitable to do so, creating an image for our comparison that can never be achieved in life... And yet we crave what the world sells, victims of a con so effective that, even knowing the girlish supermodel is lit, painted, and airbrushed into glowing artifice, we resent her for succeeding where we have failed."
I personally have found the idea of growing old gracefully a contradiction of sorts; I look at a reflection of an older woman in the mirror where a younger woman (recently) stood and it sometimes saddens me. Lisa examines that reality in a way that is as genuine as it is encouraging.
I found this emphasis on the "second half of life," to be especially helpful. I can honestly say that I will never view a hot-flash the same way again! All my girlfriends will receive brand new copies of this book for Christmas and I suggest you do the same for yours! After-all, you can't loan out your own copy as it will be marked up from highlighting and dog-eared from reading your favorite passages over and over again.
My favorite quote is, "Radiant beauty is something that comes from within. We can’t buy it or wear it. It is something that emerges through a spirit of humble reliance on God." Well said.