My five oldest kids started school last week. They’re ages 17 to five. High school, middle school, and elementary. My youngest, three, starts 2-day preschool in a couple of weeks. I love seeing their minds grow – so much to learn. Reading, writing, arithmetic, science, history. I’ve tried to foster a love for learning in everything they do. I’m fascinated with continuing education – you know, for doctors, lawyers, information technology. We all profit when we endeavor to be lifelong learners. I am absolutely convinced there should be continuing education for anatomy. Anatomy 501. Whatever would be taught? Well, there’s much to learn about chins for starters. Did you know, that after a certain age, your face no longer holds bragging rights to the chin? Chins pop up everywhere. Apparently, there are arm pit chins, and apparently, I have them. It’s true. There’s even a bra designed to support – or maybe suppress is more accurate, as in smush and flatten – the armpit chin. You know, hold it in place, and keep it from creeping out of your sleeveless arm holes. My bra is now a chin strap. I once thought Nike and Adidas had a monopoly on the chin strap – but, no, women’s undergarments have leveled the playing field.
Speaking of bras – when I found myself looking for a bra that did as much to de-hance my back side as it did to enhance my front side – I realized it may just be time to raise my fitness commitment level. I thought the South Louisiana heat would help melt fat, instead, it melted my boobs to my back. When I wear a bathing suit without those built in foamy nipple cover, boob enhancement cups, it’s difficult to tell from a side view, which is my front. Are those boob-boobs, or back boobs? If I don’t do something to change this strange evolution, the pool kids may holler, “Hey, Lady, you forgot your back bra!”
And, if realizing I have regressed from choosing a bra for its attractiveness to choosing a bra for its industrial strength and Swiss army knife capabilities – you know, chin strap, back fat flatten-er, and of course, the frontal raise – if this alarming recognition that while yes, my breasts need redemption from breastfeeding six children a whopping baker’s dozen in years – baker’s dozen by number and by the stress eating that ensued having children – this realization that I need industrial strength, MIT designed boob, back and armpit chin support provided a slight inkling I need to get control of my health. But what really did it for me was when my toddler found my school id and said, “I fount YOU, Mommy!” He was so excited. When you visit any of the public schools in our community, they request your driver’s license. And if the thought of a driver’s license picture being made isn’t harrowing enough – the fact that they now use it on IDs for school visitation classifies it as inspiration for a Stephen King movie. So, they ask, “I need to see your driver’s license please.” You, unsuspectingly, retrieve the photo that you have waved off as simply an off-day, bad photo, I-really-don’t-look-like-that, and hand it to the smiling receptionist. Yes, she’s smiling, because she knows what’s ahead. She’s really suppressing laughter, I now realize. She takes my driver’s license and feeds it into this handy little machine that transfers the loveliness that is your driver’s license image on to a temporary sticker i.d. pass, that you adhere to your clothes – Unless you sweat. Then, the adhesive doesn’t work quite as well. I have reverted to slapping the id on my thigh – away from my long hair and sweaty armpit chins. Anywho. On this particular day, my darling toddler amended my decision of where to display the i.d. He saw other PTO with it where it actually belongs – and promptly removed my id from my thigh and tippy-toed in effort to reach my chest. I, the mother that I am, selflessly assisted him in his effort, pushing aside thoughts of it falling to the floor later due to my sweaty armpit chins. It’s an actual condition – hyperhydrosis. Sweaty hands, sweaty feet, and the obvious – pits. It’s quite lovely. I have to shop for tops that camouflage sweat. Shopping once was fun, but now it’s almost a lab experience requiring the acumen of an engineer and chemist. Who knew I’d ever use calculus and chemistry while shopping? Bra design and sweat resistance – two key factors in my stunning looks.
As I was leaving the faculty kitchen, after helping a couple other moms wash the popcorn machine parts, my ID fell to the ground. Never fear, ever mindful Charlie saw it fall to the ground retrieved it, and excitedly exclaimed, not, “Who’s that?” but, “It’s you, Mommy! I found you!” and pointed to my picture. So, I really do look like that? Is that what people really see?
The image we portray of God – His love, His goodness, His power – do we really look the way Christians are portrayed in media? We like to think, “That’s other Christians, that’s not me!” But, what does the world see? What does the community see? Is their image of Christianity true to life, or just an unfortunate angle on an off-day?
The ugly truth is, we all have armpit chins and back fat somewhere in our lives – but we can improve our image as we improve our health – we can cut out toxic foods and eat fresh, healthy food – in both body and Spirit. We can get off our duffs and exercise – daily – both in body and Spirit. How do we improve our spiritual diet? Removing spiritual toxins happens in examination of relationships as well as using discretion in what we feed ourselves in entertainment. Having a healthy diet is reading the Word daily, listening to balanced teachings – building yourself up through prayer and meditation on the Word.
How can we exercise? By seeing a need a filling a need. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’” Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
I love to learn.
Let’s learn to love.
Learning to love with reckless abandonment is a lifelong tutelage.
It’s the most challenging and rewarding class you can take.