On a flight to St. Louis to visit my in-laws, I sat next to a plastic surgeon. In my previous social interactions with doctors, I’d found them to be aloof and arrogant, and therefore, poor conversationalists. But this guy was friendly and quite chatty. The fact that he was on his second Bloody Mary may have helped.
His line of work intrigued me. I couldn’t help but ask him all kinds of questions about his practice and his clientele. There were so many preconceived notions swirling around in my head about the type of people who would pay for plastic surgery. Vain. Insecure. Narcissistic. I completely judged anyone who was willing to fork over thousands of dollars on surgical procedures just to make them look younger, thinner, more voluptuous, etc. To think how they could be spending that money differently, on important things like education, the poor, etc.
But as the years have passed and the effects of aging have taken a toil on my own body, I get it. I totally get why that industry is so profitable. Aging is not attractive. When you stare in the mirror and see lines and wrinkles and saggy skin in places that were once taut and youthful, it’s depressing. Maybe I’m the only one who does this, but when I look in the mirror, I am always surprised. In my head, I still think I’m this cute, young, athletic girl in high school. Seriously. So when I see my actual reflection, I am quite taken aback. Almost horrified.
So of course, after tip-toeing around with general questions about the kind of procedures he does, which including everything from butts to boobs, I couldn’t help but ask: So, what would you recommend for these? As I pointed to all the areas around my eyes that I hated. Yes, I shamelessly sought a free plastic surgery consultation. I still have his card.
As soon as I asked, he went right into doctor-mode.
Okay now, smile for me.
I flashed my best smile.
He closely inspected my face, particularly the area around my eyes.
So I’d recommend atleast 10cc’s of Botox on both sides of the eyes, just to start with.
Oh. Okay. I felt a little insecure now that he was actually affirming I had problem areas. And then he went on.
As for the circles under the eyes, I could fix those with a simple surgery. I would make a small incision beneath the eyelid and pull out a little bit of that fat under the skin. Very simple.
How much would that cost? I asked.
For Botox, it’ll run you around $400 a treatment. And you’d want to come in every 3-4 months for another treatment in order to keep the skin taut. For the eye surgery, it’d probably cost you around $15,000.
I balked. I mean, I knew it was expensive. But still.
Then he quickly added:
But you can always come in for a free consultation and we can get you on a payment plan. A lot of my patients just do one thing at a time, little by little.
Oh, I bet they do, I thought. And never stop. I’d seen that show on TV about the people who became addicted to plastic surgery, to the point that they looked like plastic Barbies. But surely I wouldn’t go that far…
These were the thoughts that were going through my head. Plastic surgery. Something I had once looked down upon, I was now seriously considering.
Except for the fact that I still feel a tiny conviction that perhaps I could be using that money to support ministries I care about: the poor, slave trafficking, prostitutes, etc. And that perhaps, maybe, aging is just a part of life and I should accept it. And that whole verse about inner beauty, not outer beauty. But still….
I’m tempted to go get that free consulation.
And in all honesty, I don’t think it’d be ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ either way. But that conversation really got me thinking. It made me think about the process of aging and how much we fight it. And I get why. It’s ugly. It’s uncomfortable. We are suddenly downgraded into this other class in the eyes of the world. We are no longer the young ones.
But I keep thinking: this is not all there is. I put my faith in a God who is restoring all things, making all things new. I believe that one day, He will replace our temporal, aging bodies with new bodies. Glorious bodies. Full of light and youth and beauty. So that we can celebrate our Maker with pure hearts, souls, minds and strength. For eternity. And the eternity I picture doesn’t involve floating on clouds and playing harps all day.
No, I imagine that everyone has a job. But it’s a job they love. That makes them feel purpose. That brings them joy. Because the curse of work has been lifted. And I imagine that everyone gets to go to school. Like continuing ed. And we get to learn all the things we never got to learn on earth. All those classes we failed or hated because some football coach was the teacher and didn’t really care, we get to take again. But this time, our teachers are experts in the field. Like, C.S. Lewis would teach a writing class. Michaelangelo would teach painting. Da Vinci would teach science and anatomy. So for eternity, everyone would be working at a job and learning and growing and celebrating God and worshipping Him through work and wonderful food and swimming in waterfalls with dolphins and such.
That’s what I hope for.
So for now, I’m holding off on the plastic surgery.
But if you see me and notice that I have no wrinkles or puffy circles under my eyes, you know who I went to see.