“What on earth is she WEARING?!”
That’s all I heard from behind me last Sunday and that’s all I could think about for the rest of the class.
I was in Relief Society with my sister-in-law at her home ward, surrounded by ladies I didn’t know. And that was the first thing I heard from the woman behind me as soon as the sister missionaries stood up in front of the class to give a little lesson.
I wish I could tell you I was shocked. But I wasn’t. It happens SO often, that I don’t even flinch now. It’s expected. And I’m not beating up on my LDS church because that’s not the only place where judgment with others’ appearances resides. I’m beating up on every place in the entire world that holds more than two humans together at one time. *Hence, everywhere*
But when it happens among Christians, that really rubs me the wrong way. As Christians, shouldn’t we be better? Shouldn’t we think more highly of each other and grant each other the option to express his or her individuality in whatever colors or accessories or hairstyles he or she wants? It disturbs me–enough, in fact,that I’m writing this in a hurried frenzy. Don’t worry, I’ll do a spell-check before I post this.
I’m not going to go into what the missionary was wearing because…well, it doesn’t matter. It never matters.
What matters is that it happened. A girl with a big smile and a Book of Mormon in her hands was suddenly judged for what she was wearing quicker than she could get out two words. And it happens all the time. I cringe to think of all the times I may have done the same kind of thing, judging someone by their shoes or hairstyle or pierced lip as they sit across from me in church. It’s simply something to be ashamed of.
This nagging issue was still on my mind as I was reading the back of a hair-conditioning spray the day after. It relayed the instructions carefully on the back of the bottle, then simply stated: “Style as desired”. See? Even the simplest of things–a bottle of hair product– has it right. You follow the instructions–modesty, cleanliness, respectfulness toward your body. Then you style as desired.
If that means flower patches on your jeans, great. If that means not being afraid to wear short-sleeved shirts that show a tattoo that you got long ago (the one people try to convince you to regret and keep hidden)–good. If that means sporting bright green shoes because you happen to love the color green–GO FOR IT. Because no one can be you. You are your own work of art.
Five minutes into being there I was asked which Halloween store I bought this at. Great, I thought. Now I’ll feel like a pumpkin all night.
And then there’s my sister. The spunky, larger-than-life, unique girl who just happens to like black. A lot of black, actually. And people will dare to ask her why she’s goth if she’s Mormon. This oftentimes comes from not only the school halls, but her own church classrooms.
And it’s unacceptable.
We are called to be kinder, gentler, more understanding. We’re called to embrace diversity and celebrate our own.
(Picture by Julene Jorgensen photography–http://www.designstonotice.com)
No matter what age we are, we have beauty that is our own. Beauty that is crafted by the hands of our own creative spark. And shouldn’t that be celebrated?
So, my dear lady, sitting behind me in Relief Society, I will tell you what the answers might be to your whispered question of “WHAT on earth is she wearing”.
She is wearing what makes her shine.
She wears her hair short and curly because it’s too hard to keep up if it’s long, and by golly–she looks good with it.
She is wearing her hair in curls reminiscent to the 1940’s because she has the face of a movie star from those classic black and white movies and she digs the old-fashioned look.
(Picture by Joey Ferguson photography, fergmedia.com)
She has rain-soaked hair and play clothes because she loves to play. And that’s what you caught her doing.
(Picture by Julene Jorgensen photography, www.designstonotice.com)
She’s wearing bright colors and ripped jeans because she’s young–and she has the personality of the sun.
He’s wearing a bow tie because that’s his favorite way of dressing up. And he simply owns a drawer full of them.
She just simply loves yellow and looks GREAT in that color.
We’re all different. And it doesn’t matter.
What really matters is that we love that we are.
So, to the sister behind me, and to all of us really: What is she wearing?
Something different than you. And that’s what makes life so interesting. And so gosh-darn beautiful.