Thursday, August 9, 2012

I May Need A Tailor

My mom likes to tell stories of her struggle to dress me as a kid. I had no tolerance for anything itchy, constricting, uncomfortable. She'd try to put me in adorable little shoes and I'd cry, "Too tight, Mama. Too tight." Fortunately for me (and my mother), leggings and oversized sweatshirts were all the rage in elementary school fashion in the early nineties.

Even today, nothing works me into a subtly snowballing funk quite as reliably as ill-fitting clothes. By the end of the day, that shoe rubbing my heel wrong, these pants that I have to keep hitching up, this bra strap that won't stay put for the LOVE OF EVERYTHING HOLY, all guaranteed to take some of the sheen off my normally effervescent personality (hehe).

I don't know a better way to describe how I feel these days except to say this: Nothing fits. 

I don't mean that literally my clothes don't fit, although God knows we could have a conversation about that. I mean that everything feels just a little bit wrong.

I'm about to burst at the seams in this job, which has never quite fit and is a classic example of this age-old truth: if you don't absolutely love it in the fitting room, you'll never love it at home.

My marriage - normally I'd liken it to my favorite pair of Victoria's Secret pajamas, making me feel both comfortable and sexy by some sort of synthetic magic. Lately, it's like someone's washed them in too much Tide. I'm all irritated and itchy and in need of a long hot rinse cycle (which clearly in this metaphor is a weekend at the beach. You see that too, right?)

I feel ill at ease in my faith. The brouhaha last week over chicken sandwiches and gay marriage and freedom of speech and whatever else we managed to work ourselves into such a lather about has made my religion feel like it just doesn't fit. It feels narrow and small and hot.

The Baby Thing is too heavy to wear right now. My feelings on being a mother, being pregnant, hoping, dreading, I don't even want to pick it up, all of it lying crumpled at the bottom of the closet, getting wrinkled and probably starting to smell. And then the grief that I'm wearing instead, I imagine the collective whispers, "When is she going to take that thing off? Is she still wearing that?"

I feel uncomfortable, cramped. 

And yet I can't deny the breathing room when it comes, the safety pins holding me together, as temporarily, as precariously as it feels:

"We pray confidently, but we will not deny in Your presence the negatives that make us wonder. We pray amid our honest reservations, give us patience to wait, impatience to care, sadness held honestly, surrounded by joy over your coming kingdom, and peace while we wait...Come as Your true self and contradict the world, so full of unbearable deathliness." - Walter Brueggemann

"I stand outside, in the wilds, banging my pots and pans, singing loud and strong, into the wind and the cold and the heavens, there is more room! There is more room! There is room for all of us! And then I'll slide right up next to you, I'll hook my arm through yours, I'll lean it, I'll whisper right into your ear, quiet, loud, it will sound like I'm singing or like I'm preaching, and I'll say, there is more room for you." -Sarah Bessey

"And I ask [God] that with both feet planted firmly on love, you'll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights!" -The Apostle Paul, Ephesians 4:17-19 (The Message)

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