As I lathered the soap, spread tiny bubbles across my hands in the dim light of a chic restaurant bathroom, I glanced in a side-view mirror and I wondered for a second who had met my gaze -- slim curves, flushed cheeks, pinked skin, smiling eyes with only hints of tired in the soft creases.
I'd thought I was alone.
I almost didn't recognize her -- the reflection of my own softly-lined caramel eyes and dark hair straightened, cascading down my back.
I almost didn't recognize me.
This afternoon was the first time I've brushed a light shimmer of soft violet across my eyelids, swiped a line of pale charcoal along my lashes -- the first time in almost 12 weeks of a cleansing and rebuilding diet meant to eradicate a candida overgrowth that I felt well enough to wear any kind of makeup.
And, it's true, too, that my hourglass shape looks less defined and much more subtly curvy now than it did nearly three months ago.
But it wasn't just my reshaped frame, the makeup and the fixed hair that made me double take as I rinsed the bubbles under warm water; rather it was my entire day spread out across my relaxed face, my rested body.
I mentally added up moments I'd spent, well, living today, and I realized for the first time in months I couldn't count them all.
All I could do was marvel at the fullness of my day -- one where sleep wasn't at the center of exhausted thoughts and the couch was only something I cleaned beneath instead of something into which I'd melted for more hours than not.
I returned to our table, unsure of when I'd turned the corner into the final lap of this long, narrow journey toward healing my body, my spirit, my mind; I mean, there I was -- out to dinner with my sister and my mother -- at 7 p.m. and my mind was fully engaged in the conversation, my eyes wide awake and body centered comfortably at the table as we enjoyed our dinner and each other all while wearing makeup.
There I was actively living life and enjoying it instead of just wishing I could fully engage.
I've had moments, even hours, like this during during the brief respites of cleansing cycles but not groupings of entire consecutive days.
Well, not until now.
That's not to say there aren't still moments where I'm still not feeling quite up to speed.
And that's not to say all of my symptoms are gone; some still linger.
And that's certainly not to say that while at the restaurant I ordered off the regular menu without giving a list of nos -- sugar, gluten, dairy, vinegar, alcohol, mushrooms -- that made the waitresses head just about spin off her shoulders.
But today loudly sang a song of healing I've spent months feeling like I might never hear.
Today, wrapped heavy in His mercy and covered completely in His healing grace, I saw stretched out before my eyes what seems like a finish line looming in the distance of this cleansing and rebuilding journey.
Today, I logged another mile and made it to a goalpost -- and I wore makeup as I passed.
To God be the Glory.