As I readied myself for church on Sunday, I pulled a new pair of jeans from the closet — wide-legged jeans with a super high waist. They’re on trend, people, and I am here for them in every way. As I zipped up this blessed piece of clothing all the way north of my belly button, I thought, Where have you been the last twenty years? They button up my stomach and cover a multitude of stretch marks in the process.
I paired those jeans with a turtle neck, and I asked my husband what he thought of my ensemble. He said I looked good — if also like a Charlie’s Angel. My son walked into the room, looked me up and down, then asked if we were taking the VW bug to church.
I laughed to high heaven.
My family’s insistence that I looked like I fell out of the seventies couldn’t deter my good mood. I wore those pants like a Jacklyn Smith wannabe and enjoyed every minute of it. Goodbye, dissected muffin top! No spare tire overhang in these here parts. Glory be! I could wear those pants every day of the week.
Alas, what works in pants won’t always work in principle.
The next day, I wore my regular ol’ jeans and my regular ol’ habit of running behind in my efforts to get out the door to meet a new friend. Arriving at the coffee shop, I found her sitting at a central table. I couldn’t help but also notice this military wife’s kind blue eyes and strong frame acquainted with maneuvering a thousand responsibilities while her husband works halfway around the globe. As we sat and sipped our chai latte and apple cider, I leaned into her tender demeanor and attentive way. Talking with her came easily.
At one point in our conversation, I told her my struggle involving a new situation going on in my life. She listened thoughtfully. Then she proceeded to hone in on the crux of my issue, to name it with such accuracy that it stunned me a little. She followed that up with her holy perspective on the whole thing, and I felt a wash of relief that made me tear up right then and there.
While I can be an open book of sorts and share easily, I don’t usually do so until I’ve processed things on my own a good while. I almost never share really vulnerable stuff with someone I just met. I stay buttoned up and definitely don’t get emotional. But this friend’s words just hit me square on the heart and all my usual-first-coffee-date-protocol flew out the door into the chilly Colorado air.
Sometime later, a different matter altogether weighed me down, and I started to feel like I had an emotional muffin top of sorts. It squeezed me tighter and tighter, and finally, a little too suffocated from the whole thing, I said to a dear friend, “Can I just ask you a really insecure question?” She answered, “Of course!” I did, and she immediately reassured me that the situation wasn’t as bad as I thought it to be. Furthermore, after talking down my fears, she asked if she could ask me a really insecure question. I happily obliged.
While this close friend has been in my life for years, I’ve never asked her a vulnerable question in such a direct way. But I was so glad I ignored my typical-longtime-friend-coffee-date protocol and asked it anyway. By the end of that conversation, we both felt a little more like our usual selves, exhaling in our roomier pants.
After mulling over both these encounters, a couple of things occurred to me.