Friday, September 24, 2010

This Is Not Zen

As I sat in the chair at Great Clips today with a hairdresser who alternated between silence and shouting nasally in my ear at her co-worker, the full reality of 'leaving myself for last' nestled comfortably into my lap and looked up at me.

"So, what are you doing here?" he asked with his big, knowing eyes.

I thought. Images of my own dear Mother many years ago, always denying herself, evidenced by her three interchangable pantsuits hanging in the closet; the seven weeks of hair growth showing clearly at my roots; my finger, naked these past three months since I lost my wedding ring, despite my husband's urgings to replace it; my etch-a-sketch glass lenses desperately needing to be tossed; my busy schedule with time for exercise getting 10th place, meaning it rarely gets in the game; my CRV's defunct air-conditioning to which I respond by rolling down the windows in this hot Carolina heat; my lagging replacement of matching socks (nobody sees my feet most of the time anyway), my ultra-stretching or complete missing of my makeup foundation; the way I've learned to extend and wait and do without.

It's what I come from. We tear up our own old clothes and use these for our cleaning rags, we always run water in our shampoo, conditioner, detergents and soaps so that the inside of the bottle is thoroughly clean before throwing it out, we pull cotton balls into smaller pieces so as to get the most use out of them, we wear our jeans several times before washing, we always cook enough to have leftovers and often get "creative" with the third and fourth rounds, we never throw away something we don't care for - we use it until done and learn from that purchase not to buy that again, and we always look for the sale, coupon, discount, and off-season deal. This is not only very familiar to me - I dearly believe in it. All other choices seem wasteful and go against good stewardship in my heart.

"So. That's all there is to it?" was his calm response, as my ultra-quick cut was completed and I walked out, running my fingers through my still dripping hair.

Where does being comfortable with yourself as you are meet with up with caring for yourself as you know you are to care for others? When does the realization that so much of this is dross cross over into a lack of love (being a verb) for yourself? How does one distinguish between whether you are being satisfied and uncomplaining or a lazy martyr? I don't know if I've got that figured out yet. One of those things I'm still working on.

The thing is, I'm usually pretty content with what I have and what I don't. And I know that sooner or later I will get to what needs getting to. What doesn't will fade away. I could just as readily write up a list of those things I have, and for which I am thankful. I guess, well, I guess sometimes I just get a bit embarrassed by things that shouldn't matter, and wonder if they should matter more.

Like I said, I'm in a constant state of straining to conciliate the 'now and what is' with 'who I am'.

*Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
"Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.

This truth is greater than any momentary self-consciousness, discomfort, or frustration I may struggle with. Working through it or not, this I know.

*Hebrews 13:5

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