My New Shirt
This weekend represented the one year anniversary of my totally losing my mind. A friend of mine commented about the distance that I have travelled this past year. It is unbelievable the depths that I had to fall to and the painful self-inspection that I had to do in order to get to this place of grace and trust in God. I guess other people, in addition to my friend, are noticing and responding to the changes in me.
I was asked to visibly participate for the first time this weekend in the Easter services at my church. Lately I have been getting back outside my self imposed box. Greeting people before service, initiating conversations with seemingly disconnected people so that they will feel connected to someone – just something small. The eagerness that I feel to get involved is a big part of the healing process, especially getting to the point where I feel like I have something to offer.
The caveat that was given to me when I was asked to serve was that I had to dress “super cool”. Quickly I suppressed the thoughts of “well, how the heck do I usually look?” and I was too excited and overwhelmed to throw out the joke “yeah, wife beater and cut-offs, no problem.” After discussing the opportunity with my wife (and the accompanying caveat – to which we both laughed), she was excited for me – it is becoming clearer and clearer through our conversations that she is ready to accept me doing what God wants. Quite the change going on in her. Involvement is not something to be jealous of. My attitude and boundaries will help keep her supportive rather than combative. Yet another lesson learned.
Now, how do we address the suggestion to look “super cool”? Pretty sure that is not in my wardrobe. Cool – quite possibly. Casual – for sure. In fact, there are times that I have been know to look super. Never super cool. Please don’t worry over those statements, that is just a reality of myself that I’m comfortable with, not a desire for someone to affirm how I look. I’ve got a master’s degree in Mathematics – a group that will never be known as “super cool” – so I have to admit that given that background I think I excel in the area of style.
Yet, as amazing as this mathematician looks, I had to delegate the Easter weekend outfit choice to my wife. Jeans. That was easy. I have some great shoes that a friend’s wife bought for me (yes, my previous style choice was so bad that someone had their own personal intervention). But the shirt – always perilous. After surveying the choices, my wifey immediately offered to take me to Kohl’s. (By the way, the only thing I love more than Kohl’s is parenthetical remarks, as you can tell from this blog. Our house has a special celebration dance when we get mailed a 30% off Kohl’s coupon. That coupled with my proclivity to shop on the 80% off rack makes stuff almost free – hey, wait, that may be part of my problem. I’m shopping on the 80% off rack – I’m buying the clothes no one else wants. Wow, more self realization.)
Anyway, she offers to take me to Kohl’s and I said no. I’ve got more than enough clothes to choose from, we are going to pick from what I have.
Never would I have predicted just how important that response was to my wife. Fast forward to three days later. We are enjoying a family weekend away. Making up for some lost time. The shirt decision has long since been made. As we unpack, my wife says “I’ve got a present for you.” That’s great. I love presents – that maybe she was going to give me a kiss or a can of cashews to enjoy by the pool. (We’ll keep this G-rated as to what I was hoping the present was.) Nope. It was a shirt. She had secretly gone out and got something “pretty super cool”. The purchase was made, not because she thought what we settled on was bad; not because we have extra money burning a hole in our bank account; simply because she was proud of my declaration.
Her observation was that the old me would have run right out to buy something new in order to appease people’s opinions. My firm choice to pick from what I had meant everything to her for it was outward evidence of change within me. Less people-pleasing.
I could not have faked this moment, it is not even something that I would have been aware to change or a way to show her I had changed. It was just a natural expression of my new comfort with who I am in Christ.
Glad she noticed.