Does this dress make me look fat?
Mar 17, 2020
(Note: Each week I send out a Monday Morning Manna email to subscribers. Today I wanted to share with you this week's email.)
My friend is the queen of Selfies With Famous People. That’s why I wasn’t surprised when, as we waited for the program to start, she nudged me even as she was getting out of her seat.
"She’s over there," she said, pointing to an aisle on the opposite side of the auditorium. "Let’s go."
I tend to be a bit shy in such occasions, but my friend is a force to be reckoned with. Thanks to her, I met, got a picture with, and book signed by one of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott.
One of her books that I love is Bird By Bird: A Journal of My Son’s First Year.Lamott was not only a single mom but also a freelance writer, and her book is both funny and unflinchingly honest about her struggles.
In the midst of it her best friend, Pammy, is diagnosed with cancer. Lamott describes an outing with Pammy for Lamott to buy a new dress for a date with a new man. Lamott tries on a dress that is different for what she usually wears (in her words, "I usually dress like John Goodman.") She shows it off to her friend, asking, "Does this dress make me look fat?"
"Annie?" Pammy says slowly from her wheelchair, "I don’t think we have that kind of time."
I’ve been thinking about that quote a lot over the last few days. A month ago who would have thought that all sports would be shut down, that schools and churches would be closed? Who would have thought that we’d be asked to stay away from each other?
Things have changed and keep changing, and we really don’t have that kind of time. I don't mean that in a morbid way. I mean that we don’t have time for things that, in normal times, can seem so important.
Like holding onto that grudge or that hurt.
Like replaying that time in the fifth grade when you embarrassed yourself in front go the whole class.
Like being upset with that family member or friend because they hurt your feelings even though they themselves are blissfully unaware that they have done such a thing.
Like keeping score in a relationship or a job.
I won’t argue that any of these things deserve a place in our lives. It’s just that now there really is no place. We don’t have that kind of time because there are bigger, more important questions of how we figure out jobs and kids at home and finding toilet paper. We don’t have that kind of time to focus on our little litanies of grievances because we are getting a huge lesson in how interconnected we all are.
I invite you to lean into that interconnectedness. Not in the sense of leaning into other people, of course (6 feet away, folks) but of leaning into love.
Lean into love for the other that calls us to be willingly inconvenienced for their sake, to shut down our schedules and stay away even though you may be young and seemingly healthy.
Lean into love for the other that lifts them up in prayer. As I walk my dog I find myself offering up prayers as people and professions come to mind.
Lean into love that opens our eyes to those who are usually invisible, like hungry children who get fed at school and aging adults who live quietly in the homes they’ve had for a lifetime. Learn into the love that cares how they are and reaches out to offer what we have .
Lean into the love of the God who who holds us and knows our very breath. The God who never distances from us, even when we have to distance from each other.
In the midst of so much that is strange these days, this thing is familiar.
God loves us.
God holds us.
God remembers us.
God is with us.