Well Prepared Or Slightly Traumatized

Six weeks ago I received a text inviting my son to participate in a fashion show at the University.  I responded with: “absolutely, he would love it.”  Really, I didn’t know that he would love it.  All things considered, chances were that he would hate it.  My son almost flunked kindergarten music because he refused to do the hand motions; he felt like they drew too much attention.  Last year he opted out of spirit week because he thought dressing up made him look stupid.  Knowing all this, I still  enthusiastically signed him up to strut his stuff in front of hundreds of people in an outfit completely out of his control.  Looking back, I don’t think I even asked him if he wanted to do it. I just presented it as a really fun opportunity . . . and may have bribed him with a cookie or two.  Parenting at its best, I say.

After several fittings, a photo shoot, and a one-hour tutorial on how to walk a runway; I finally got a glimpse of the finished product at a dress rehearsal.

We arrived at the rehearsal a few minutes early where we were immediately ushered into a large room with racks of clothing and mirror-lined walls. Beautiful coeds bustled around the room assigning stylists to designers, checking in models, revamping the program order and music.  Suddenly the chaos paused as a slight young woman raised her voice above the crowd to demand that everyone put on their first outfits.  My son (the only male in the room) stood stunned as dozens of girls ran around in six-inch heels, g-strings, and pasties.  For over an hour, as he waited his turn to walk the fake runway taped to the hallway floor, my son endured wardrobe change after wardrobe change.

When they finally lined him up behind the evening wear, I realized for the first time that he was exactly butt-height with all the lanky models in shiny pumps.  I wondered ten years from now how he would process this memory.  What  would  he recall when he flashed back to that day and the images of nothing but legs and rear ends rushing around him?  The images that would be further seared into his mind the night of the actual event when he again spent hours in the dressing room.  I decided finally that he was either well prepared or slightly traumatized.  Only time would tell.

Perspective is everything when it comes to recalling the past.  It is easy for me to look back and think, “what a waste.”  I look back and see the hurts, the mistakes, the sins, and I am traumatized.  Because I can only see in part . . .

God promises to restore the waste places.  To turn deserts to Edens, to bring comfort to the wilderness, habitation to the desolate.  He is a God of restoration and reconciliation.  Our past is never a waste in His hands, but merely preparation for the good things He has for our future.

We all have memories, things that define us.  Perhaps it is time to reconsider some of those definitions.  To explore our past in the light of God’s restorative power, to see beyond the butts to the good that God can do with all things.  Put the shameful, the senseless, the painful moments of your history into the hands of a capable God; and strut into the future with the promise that He makes all things beautiful in time.

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