"Grace, you haven't changed!” friends and acquaintances, whom I haven't seen for sometime, exclaim with a matching gasp and a look of disbelief.
A part of me wants to believe them; another part laughs, like anyone does when she hears a joke.
I look at myself in the mirror and even without my eyeglasses on, I can spot the changes—big, dramatic ones.
So I play along, “Nobody changes with time.”
But trust brothers to speak the awful truth.
When my brother Earl came home from Australia, where he lives with his family, he gave me a prolonged hug then looked at me and remarked, “Aww, you're old!”
“Gee, how wonderful to see you, too!” I replied.
My brothers—all three of them—are the child in “The Emperor's New clothes.” When everybody is saying to the emperor, “What lovely new clothes!” the child cries, “But he isn't wearing anything at all!”
Just when everybody is saying to me, “You look so young!” my brothers will say, well, you know what they'll say.
I have in mind imposing the unwritten Ilocano rule, respect your eldest. But they would have a quick retort, “Where is that written?”
I wrote a whole chapter on one of them in Gifts of Grace book 1. I could write a few more on how the other two say or do all manner of things just to see how quickly they could get my goat.
People usually walk gingerly around others, but my brothers? They tell ME like it is.
Okay, I admit, they are my true looking glass; they verbalize exactly what other people see, but are too polite to say. Through these irreverent three, I know how I am changing through the years.
In our every encounter, which is not often (one lives in Australia, one lives in American Samoa, and one lives in Baguio), I see Grace the way she is. No illusion, delusion, apparition, deception, nor hallucination.
I thank God for the gift of brothers. They are grace beyond telling.
Oh, how they tell!