Here I sit, my fingernails still drying, my teeth whitened, my legs shaved, my hair clean. It’s amazing the lengths of quality control women will go to, simply in order to feel presentable! Me – I go through phases. I’ll have a week where I wear heels every day, accessorize myself, curl my hair. Other times, I will go 4 days without a shower, simply because I grow weary of showering. Sometimes I feel a wee bit depressed when I think about the seeming eternity of years left to live, and the fact that showering is something that I will have to do over, and over, and over…
I am a J. If you don’t know what that is, go here and take the test. J’s like to cross things off their to-do lists, and then when the list is completely fulfilled, shred the paper, gather it back up, and make a papier mache tray for organizing future to-do lists. Incredibly functional and productive, I sometimes border on the verge of being anal retentive; it’s a wonder that I’ve kept any friends at all. This longing for order and closure makes certain every-day repetitive things, like showering, often seem like a nuisance (i.e. But I already did that this week!). I wish that I could just take one mega day-long shower and cross it off my list for all time.
As my toenail polish dries, I think ahead to the reason that I have done all of this work on myself tonight. I’ll stand in front of hundreds and hundreds of people tomorrow morning, but chances are that very, very few of them will notice what I am wearing or that my teeth are a bit less dingy than usual. No. The reason that I feel like tomorrow morning warrants some extra primping dates back to when I was a little girl, and Easter was a very special holiday. Easter was so important that I got to wear an EASTER DRESS, and maybe, if I was lucky, an EASTER BONNET. Easter is the main event, the biggest church holiday of them all, and you’d better put on your Sunday best for the raisin’ of the Lord.
I’m not betting on anyone noticing my clean, polished fingernails. But I bet that Jesus does.
This week was a stressful, busy, long week for me. A few days ago, I walked into the bathroom at church and was surprised at the image of myself in the mirror. I was SCOWLING. Not just a simple frown, but full-out glowering. I had to talk myself down from my grimacey ledge, and I could actually feel my face slowly sliding from a frown back to being relaxed. It’s as if I had to tell myself to press the “reset” button.
Today, I caught myself smiling three times. This is significant because usually, we don’t notice when we smile – it happens throughout the day as a response to conversation or humor or something pleasing, and it’s as natural as breathing. But today, there were three times where my smile was so uncontrolled and unadulterated that it caught me off guard, and each of these times was in response to a baby.
First, there was little Ellie, in candy-striped leggings and a denim jumper, a little Alfalfa spray of hair shooting out of the top of her head, with the most delicious cheeks and dimples. I saw her and before I could stop it, a smile burst out of me.
Next, while walking around Green Lake, a toddler in a stegasaurus shirt came barreling down the path toward me, his mom following close behind. I went right – he went right. I veered left – he went left. And I found myself in a pickle, not sure how to get around this kid who anticipated my every move with a counter-move. It was just so funny and delightful – I even giggled out loud.
Finally, I was stopped at a cross-walk next to a couple, the man holding their baby in a snuggle pouch. The new parents were deep in conversation, but the baby tilted her head back, looked up at me, and smiled a wide, gummy, toothless grin. Her parents oblivious to the moment that I was having with their child, I smiled back – and her eyes sparkled. I am convinced that babies know things that we don’t know.
I’ve been convicted that my countenance needs to be lifted more often than it is fallen. After all, how else is anyone going to see my white teeth?