Monday, May 4, 2009

Two Rows Back

One of the nice things about our sabbatical has been the fact that the four of us have been able to go to church at the same time and sit together in the same pew. That very rarely happened when Steve was a pastor since he and I always went to church early on Sundays and then we were both on the platform during the services. So it's been really cool to enjoy the simple pleasure of just worshipping together as a family.

Yesterday I was ready for church a little early so I went down to the kitchen and puttered around doing some prep for lunch. For the purpose of puttering and prepping, I kicked off my lovely high heel Sunday shoes and slid my feet into my scruffy, ugly (comfy) sandals that I just wear around the house. The sandals are about ten years old and are not really fit for public view.

After a few minutes, I finished up my puttering, everyone else came downstairs and the four of us left for church. We'd been driving about ten minutes (it's a twenty minute trip) when I looked down and saw something horrible. I saw that I was still wearing my scruffy, ugly sandals! Along with my nice blouse. And skirt. And earrings. And everything.

Steve gallantly offered to turn around and get my church shoes but after recovering from my momentary moment of horror I said, "No, that's okay. No one's going to be looking at my feet anyway."

I do sincerely hope that all you ladies are exceedingly proud of me for wearing such unattractive shoes to church and not having a hissy fit over them! I guess at age 47, I've started to realize what's really important in life and wearing perfect shoes to church is not one of those things.

But just so you ladies can "feel my pain," I thought I would share a few photos of the aforementioned shoes. (Please also note the lovely skirt that I got for a dollar at a thrift store.)

Here are the "puttering around the house, walking out to the mailbox" sandals. (You can double click on pictures to make them larger.)


As compared to the lovely, gold heels I got on clearance two years ago and have worn a bazillion times since.


And another angle, just so you can get a full view of the shoes' loveliness.


After we had arrived at church (and I had recovered from my minor shoe crisis), I was glancing around at the other members of the congregation and happened to notice two rows in front of us a man and wife who were probably in their eighties. The reason I noticed them at all was because they were actually singing along and looking interested and involved.

And why was that so noteworthy?

Well, it was noteworthy because Whitley Church is very contemporary in its music and worship styles. There is stage lighting, video screens, a live band and a bunch of singers. While the music isn't overly loud, it's definitely high energy.

I got to thinking that when this elderly couple went to church in the early years of their life together, there was no doubt an organ and an hymnal. And that's it. The only "lighting effect" they had was the sun shining in through the stained glass window and the only singers on the platform were wearing choir robes.

And yet, fifty years later, this couple was in a loud and lively church singing along and worshipping. And I was inspired by that.

I was inspired because I've met some people who are twenty years old and they are already old. They are stuck in the mud, and stuck in their ways and woe be to the person who tries to bring any change into their lives. And then I've met people who are ninety years old and there is still a sparkle in their eye and they're always excited about discovering what's around the next bend in life.

Those people will never be old.

I left church yesterday thinking, "I want Steve and I to be like that couple when we're eighty years old. I want us to always be willing to branch out and discover new things."

And even though I might wander into church when I'm eighty years old wearing the wrong shoes, it'll be no biggie because I've already been there, done that. (smile) I'll just say, "Well, no one's looking at my shoes anyway," and I'll file into the pew with Steve and start to sing.

And maybe, just maybe, we'll inspire someone two rows back.

13 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Pam D said...

Oh Becky, you ALREADY inspire me! And it's funny that you should write this post today. I was with my boy at his school (which goes K4-12th grade) and we were walking through the middle school hall. I saw a sign on a bulletin board that said: “30 years from now it won’t matter what shoes you wore, how your hair looked or what jeans you bought; what will matter is what you learned and how you used it.” I think that fits this post better than anything else I could say. Whether we're alive for 30 more years or just one more hour, we need to focus on the things that REALLY matter. THAT'S what made those older people so wonderful...

Anonymous said...

Becky . . . just remember, God doesn't care what shoes you wore, He loves just as you are!

Anonymous said...

That is just a really nice story--puts things into the right perspective. You did good! :-)

Love, deb

Sue G said...

One of the books I edited several years back talked about stress and the strain that puts on the body, thereby causing eventual illness. It stated that the greatest stressor today for humans is their inability to adapt to change. I wonder sometimes if our inability to adapt to, to confront, to allow change is why we see such a rising incidence of heart disease, cancer, and many other diseases.

Is it really disease...or DIS EASE that afflicts us so?

It sounds like your two pew neighbors learned a long time ago how to not only roll with the punches...but also how to let the good times roll!

Jennifer said...

No doubt you'll be singing and praising in your white orthopedic shoes with the supportive arches!! So glad you had a great Lord's Day...not sure WHAT I would have done under the circumstances???

krueth said...

Oh well, I got all ready one morning for Church and then put on my old "tenny shoes" to putter in while making things ready for lunch and yep, I got to church and was sitting in the pew and noticed my OLD shoes..Yikes..I tried to keep them tucked back under the pew..ha! I doubt anyone even noticed, and I agree with Pam D, It won't matter in the big scheme of things will it...God loves us reagardless.....Loved your post though...brings back good? memories..ha Wendy

Anonymous said...

I have never EVER been concerned about the shoes I wear in Church...Neither should you. It's a totally non issue!!!! I don't have the money to be concerned about my wardrobe and frankly, I don't care!!! It's not at all important to me.This is what I have tried to teach my children.

My hair isn't important, I don't wear make-up. I don't feel the need to shop all the time or to spend money on make=up, hair dryers, straightners, etc. I work full time to try to educate my family. I don't have time to concern myself with shoes, make-up, etc. I think I look quite nice and frankly, I don't believe God cares how "put together" I am.

You are a beautiful family....hair, clothes, make-up, etc are totally irrelevant!!!!!!

God bless

Anonymous said...

I have (on more than 1 occasion) forgotten my shoes altogether when going to church. Once they were sitting back at home. The other time they actually got to church, but they got locked in the car with no way to get them out. I did feel a bit funny walking up to the front to take communion, knowing everyone in the balcony could see my lovely stained socks...

Robin

MN Mom said...

Loved the shoe story - have done that myself, but it was for a funeral, and the shoes definitely didn't fit the dress! Actually, your sandals are just fine, and look very comfy!
Your new blog is great! I so admire your spunk!

Random said...

My parents were quite against my going to church when I was about Sarah's age, and so I would have to get myself there and back, and make sure that it didn't interfere with anything they wanted done. As a result, I spent a lot of time in church in jeans and T-shirt, hair messy from the bike ride, and thinking "at least I made it."
I think the really important thing is that you are in church, for all the right reasons, and that eventually you stop worrying about who's watching you - because anyone who's in church to judge your footwear could probably use the inspiration that you show them by not caring.

Mamasita said...

As my "twin," Pam said, you are already an inspiration! (Except that I was going to put "Honey" in the sentence somewhere if I had written it first.)

If it makes you feel any better, my hubby has let me leave the house with 2 different shoes on.

Your words on "change" were interesting. One of my classes in college was actually on dealing with change. The professor wrote the textbook himself. You never knew what you were going to find when you walked into the room; desks facing backwards or in a circle, the podium on the other end of the room, etc. He stated that change is constant and we can either spend our lives fighting it or working with it, but nothing we do is going to stop it from happening.

Thank you for your sharing your outlook on things!

Anonymous said...

Becky, when I was in elementary school we had church shoes and school shoes. On Sunday afternoons we changed to school shoes. One Sunday night I got to church and looked at my feet. I had on my school shoes! I felt terrible but had to go on. I know the feeling of wrong shoes.
Ann in RR

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