Monday, May 14, 2012

Can You See the Light?

I woke up the other morning with the song "This Little Light of Mine" running through my head.  What a beautiful song!  I have such amazing memories of my oldest son singing this song when he was a toddler.  He loved the song!  I can still see him holding up his little finger as his "light" and just singing his heart out.  I hope that mental image never leaves me, and oh how I wish I had a recording of that sweet voice.  

As I was preparing breakfast that morning for the children and singing "This Little Light" in my head (the boys no longer like to hear me singing unless it is their nightly lullaby), I kept thinking of the significance of the words to the song.  We all have that little light, that inner light or beauty, that we hope the world can see.  And it struck me that the light is what matters, that inner "something" that others can see in us, that hopefully helps them to see God.  Maybe they see the light in our smile, or in our words.  Maybe they see the light in our actions or in how we care for others.     

There are so many ways to let our light shine in the world.  And our light does not depend on our outward appearance or anything we can purchase or consume.    

I view this material fast as an exercise to help me focus more on that light and less on the lamp shade!  And so far the fast is going very well.  Someone asked me the other day if I have cheated and I told her I did not think so.  I knew going into the fast that I would purchase home furnishings Jason and I had previously planned, such as a new dining room table, but as far as things for myself, I have bought only running shoes and one item that I justified for health purposes (my Garmin running watch/heart rate monitor).  I really have not felt like I am missing out on anything, and I do feel like I am growing and gaining.    

I'll leave you with these simple, yet profound lyrics:

This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let it shine.

This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let it shine.

This little light of mine,
I'm gonna let it shine, 
let it shine,
let it shine,
let it shine!

So, all you beautiful souls out there -- go let your lights shine.  You don't need new clothes or jewelry for that!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Yes, I will go to the Ball!

I am not one to frequent black tie affairs.  There are many reasons for this.  First, it is just not something frequently "required" of Jason and me in the social circles in which we run.  And second, it is not something I particularly enjoy.  I can remember being a young adult and reading the social pages of our local paper wondering if that might some day be my life.  I loved the idea of wearing the beautiful gowns and being important enough that people who did not even know me might want to see a photo of me all dressed up and out for the night, looking perfect and supporting a perfectly good cause.  I suppose I wanted "that life", not really knowing what I wanted out of life, truly.  

Fast forward many years and the society page has not been my life.  I guess I can say "thankfully," though that would not seem fair because I really have no idea if I would want that life or not.  But on rare occasions, Jason and I are asked to attend black tie affairs, almost always for a charitable cause.  Usually I try to make up a reason to NOT attend.  If I am really honest with myself regarding my excuses for not wanting to go, they are generally pretty shallow.  For the past few years, every January we are invited to attend the Pointe Ball here in Birmingham.  I have come up with excuse after excuse for not being able to attend.  The reason I never want to go is that I do not think I have anything pretty enough or special enough to wear, or I am feeling fat, and my body is so hard to fit that I do not want to go through the excruciating exercise of finding anything.  Finally, two years ago, I sucked it up and agreed to go.  I searched high and low for a dress that would actually hit the ground of my six feet tall frame and took the plunge and ordered one on line.  It was fine and fit okay.  Well, as my good luck would have it, I ended up with a conflict that prevented us from attending.  

Awesome -- dodged that one.  

January of 2011 rolled around to greet me with the same invitation.  Well, I had a dress, and no apparent conflict, so I agreed we should go.  I was self conscious all night long because I did not like they way I looked in my dress and did not feel good wearing it.  The icing on the proverbial cake was when about twenty minutes into the affair, the heel broke on my shoe and I had to hobble around all night on the ball of my foot.  Talk about an uncomfortable night!  I told Jason when we left last year that it was highly unlikely I would attend that event again, and if I did, I was certainly not wearing a full length ball gown.  

Fast forward to 2012 and I receive an email from my sweet husband asking if I would like to attend the 2012 Pointe Ball.  

Honestly, my idea of a perfect night involves my pajamas, a good movie, and a glass of wine.  It never involves a ball gown and uncomfortable shoes.  However, in an effort to embrace the inner me, I thought that I should accept this invitation as a challenge to myself.  

A challenge to dress in something I already own and in which I am physically comfortable.  

A challenge to look in the mirror on my way out of the door and see me, and not see a dress.  

A challenge to enjoy a night with my husband that does not involve worn out pajamas I have had since college.  

A challenge to not worry about what other people (most of whom I do not even know) might think about what I am wearing.  

A challenge to let others see me for the inner me, and not whatever I choose to wear to this event.  

I quickly responded to Jason with a simple "yes, let's go!" having no clue what I would wear.  But I vowed not to worry about it.  And I vowed to myself that I would go to the Pointe Ball this year with my sweet husband and enjoy a night with him without worrying about how I looked and being insecure about what others think about me.  

I am not my dress.  I am not even how I look in my dress.  

We went to the Ball and I wore a dress I have worn to numerous other events.  I won't lie to you and say that I felt beautiful, because I am entirely too insecure to feel that way.  But I was comfortable.  Mostly because I tried so hard to let go of worrying about how others would think I looked or if I had the latest, greatest, most fashionable dress.  

Life is not about dresses.  It is about our hearts, our relationship with God and with others, and our experiences.  We do not need a new dress to enjoy those things.