Monday, December 7, 2009

Pretty-Girl Day

            We’re girls. We love clothes. We dig shoes. Hair is a verb. Dressing up is a hobby.

            We like to feel pretty.

            I think my sisters are stunning. I don’t know if they really are, but I like to think the world thinks so, too.

            But like every girl in the whole wide universe, they struggle sometimes with feeling pretty.

            Lauren is four years younger than I am. She is 5’10” and the tallest girl in the family. She’s a personal trainer and loves exercise and working out.

            She’s got some muscle.

            On top of this, she likes to wear bright clothes and 3” heels. You can’t miss her. Blending in was never a priority.

            I wrote this poem for her one year:

MY VERY OWN FRIENDLY GIANT

 

I have my very own giant.

She is built with arms of steel.

She shakes the house when she walks

And the room thunders when she talks

 

I have my very own giant

She’s good for moving things

When I’m in a heavy-lifting pinch

She helps without the slightest flinch

 

I have my very own giant

Her height is her greatest gift

High shelves cause her no problem at all

You don’t need a ladder when you’re tall

 

I have my very own giant

She’s a very sensitive soul

She doesn’t like to see people treated badly

Those bullies will need a doctor, sadly

 

I have my very own giant

Though tall, she enjoys being a girl

Perming her hair is an amusement source

And buying curvy Gap jeans (long, of course)

 

I have my very own giant

She’s friendly and a social guru

Enter a room and everyone looks

Easily remembered, she’s hard to overlook

 

I have my very own giant

I think I’ll keep her around

Not only is she useful aplenty

She’s my sister and best friend times twenty

 

            Though most of the time Lauren loves her height, she still has her vulnerable moments. 

            There was one evening where I walked in on Corrie and Lauren. Lauren was crying. I’d brought them pizza and was planning on having a relaxed girls night. But the atmosphere of the room told me that wasn’t what was going on.

            Lauren was really distressed. These weren’t little tears. I wanted to help.

            The pizza had just come out of the oven when I’d cut it and placed pieces on paper plates. I’d stacked the plates so I could carry my drink, too. When I separated the plates, the cheese on one pizza stuck to the bottom of the other plate.

            I stood for a moment, in Lauren’s room, looking at the cheese stuck to the bottom of the plate. For a brief second I wondered what I was going to do.

            Then Lauren and Corrie laughed.

            That has nothing to do with why Lauren was crying. I guess it stood out to me because I’d planned to swoop in and be the big sister that saved my little sister from the big bad wolves.

            Then cheese got stuck to the bottom the plate and the mission changed.

            And Lauren was struggling with feeling fat and ugly, so we ate pizza.

            In this moment of Lauren’s vulnerability, she asked us to speak truth to her. I distinctly remember her saying, “Don’t tell me I’m beautiful, tell me the truth.”

            I remember thinking that the truth was that she was beautiful.

            But that’s not what she wanted or needed to hear.

            There is a Psalm that says, “O God, How lovely are your dwelling places.” I had a Bible study leader point this out. Because we’re also the temple of the Holy Spirit, that means we are God’s dwelling places. That means we are lovely.

            Years ago, when I was still in high school, I had to come to terms with certain features on my body that had always caused me grief.  What helped me was suddenly realizing that God had a plan when he designed my body. It wasn’t an accident. The Baby Machine didn’t explode in my mother’s womb and God didn’t say, “Oops, I guess that’s as good as it gets.” He really wanted me to look this way.

            And He really likes it.

            There was this one time when I ran to Wal-Mart real quick. I was wearing grungy clothes, no make-up, and my hair wasn’t fixed. It was Wal-Mart, after all. Who dresses up to go to Wal-Mart?

            But that day it was Pretty Girl Day. Not really, but it looked like it. Our little po-dunk Wal-Mart was filled with gorgeous women. I saw guys turn their heads and crane their necks to look at packs of them as they walked by.

            On this day, as I walked through the produce department on my way to get  some ground beef, I asked God, “God, is there anyone looking at me?”

            He replied, “I am.”

            And, stupid girl that I am, I answered back, “I mean, anybody else?”

            Because, that’s why we feel ugly, anyway. That’s why I was self-conscience about those certain body features. I was mortified to think that anyone else noticed them.

            That’s why I was self-conscience on Pretty Girl Day at Wal-Mart. I was mortified to think that no one was craning their neck to catch a glimpse of me.

            But when I go back to think of God creating me in my mother’s womb. I’m not so self-conscience anymore. In fact, I’m pretty pumped.

            Because, even when no one else is looking and thinking I’m beautiul or pretty or whatever, God is looking, and God says, “You’re a knock-out.”

            God likes what He made and He did it on purpose.

            Somehow, that’s enough.

 

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