Thursday, June 24, 2004

Ugly pants

This is weighing on my conscience, and will be told at my next confession, but listen, my children, and you may hear something that you've done:

Yesterday, I was riding in an elevator alone. The cab doors are mirrors, so I expected to have a 30-floor chance to sorrow over my contours and make faces at myself. I got on, the doors closed, and I was astounded to realize I was wearing just about the ugliest pants in Illinois. I had no idea that they were that U.G.L.Y. Laugh-and-point ugly. Why-didn't-my-friends-tell-me-they-were-so ugly?

I spent the rest of the day very sensitive to how bad I looked from the waist down. Got home, put'em in the wash and figured they'd go into the donation bag, from which they may travel to a poor person, who will put them on and make them explode into loveliness.

Funny, right? But this morning, after daily Mass, with Jesus barely past my hands and mouth, and supposedly in my heart, I went through the bank drive-through. Some idiot driver came through the narrow exit lane and stopped. I had to back WAAAAAAY up around a curve to let them through. I made one of those exasperated, eye-rolling faces, set my mouth grimly and impatiently jerked the car back, popping up onto a curb, which increased my pissed-off-ness. Then I looked at the other driver. I know her.....from church.....she and her husband are lovely, gentle, holy people.

We opened our windows and I immediately apologized for making a nasty face at her. She of course was all apologies for confusing the lanes. I waved goodbye and slid low in my seat in what, thankfully, was humble humiliation more than simple angry embarassment.

My soul's equivalent of ugly pants. The fact that it was someone I knew, and was therefore accountable to, is not the point. She is just as much the Lord's child as I, and in stark fact, much more His loving child than I. But up to that minute, I had no idea that Driver Dramatics were so un-Godly. Forgive me, Lord.


Roz said...

I never realized what a gift humble humiliation (as opposed to social embarrassment) could be. I certainly don't crave it, but thanks for making me open to being grateful for it when it comes.

After all, if I'm going to be writhing in unpleasantness as a result of my shortcomings, I'd much rather it accompany the grace that leads to real repentance rather than wasting the opportunity.

Can I see your ugly pants when I come to Chicagoland?

Therese Z said...

I wouldn't want to ruin any impression I might make. Of course, if you're doubled over in helpless laughter at my ugly pants, my other shortcomings might slip by.



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