Have you seen the ridiculous Vagisil commercial where the woman walks up to a group of her “friends” and they visibly shun her because of her feminine odor? I am including the link below. Is this what the media really thinks goes on among women? And if so, the media is merely comprised of 7 teenage boys who are dictating the emotions and opinions of every television watching fool on the planet. And before you sit down to write me a manifesto about my wayward Christian heart for calling television watchers fools… read it again. Obviously, I am fool enough to watch enough television to have formed an opinion about a commercial on feminine odor.
This commercial, while utterly hilarious, is a deceptive and inaccurate depiction of women. No woman that smelled that corrupt wouldn’t be fully aware she reeked that badly. That being said, she would not have so casually approached women that obviously are quite cliquish and hateful. Second of all if these are her good friends, they would tell her, not shun her. It is indeed a hard conversation to have, “Hey honey, we can smell your hoo-ha from 5 feet away.” Which brings me to the third point, if they can, in fact, smell her from that far away, and they are her friends, I think they would recommend she see a doctor and get something prescription strength. Finally, in the last scene of this commercial, odor resolved, they are laughing and enjoying a stroll in the park. Again, this would never, ever, ever happen.
For if you are shunned for vaginal odor, you move to another state, fill your prescription to ensure you never encounter this level of awkwardness again, and then you get new friends. And you never speak of the incident again.
The psychobabble of this commercial addresses many truths of human nature.
To fit in.
To be accepted.
To be among people who love and understand you.
To be appreciated.
To be counted worthy.
To not smell bad.
And I could go on and on about the need to fit in. The need to be picked and included. But actually, that isn’t where I am headed with this blog. I started thinking about this poor smelly woman being left out of the social group and I started thinking about all the times we moved when I was young and the stress of being left out. Loneliness. And although there was one move we made when I was twelve, and I was indeed quite smelly, there was more to my isolation than pre-pubescent pits… cause every twelve-year-old smells this way.
No, it is hard to move into new schools and find your way into an accepting group. My situation was unusual, unique. Many of the schools I would move to housed kids that had been together since kindergarten, there just wasn’t room for the new girl in their niche. And I survived and I moved on, better for the experience of being left out. I am compassionate to the lonely. I am grateful I want to help the left out and those in need.
But now I have children, and I never wanted them to feel the pangs of being left out, lonely, and smelly.
As a mom I spent many years worried my children might feel this – I didn’t want them to suffer. But then it occurred to me that being left out, lonely, and smelly built character and I encouraged them to feel those feelings.
And without being too boastful, I believe my children are compassionate and I have seen them reach out to the lonely. And I wish there had been kids like that each time I had moved.
Brokenness can manifest good.
My friend Paul uses his past brokenness to help people who are where he once was. My friend Christine does the same. You can learn from them. You can be blessed by where they were and how they changed… and seek to use their nightmares for glory.
This is good.
But, as a mom, it is a hard pill to swallow.
We want our babies in the right schools, the right teams, the right clothes and tennis shoes. Heaven forbid they get picked last for a team. And it is well to teach them it isn’t about them. It is an appropriate lesson that they experience the hurts of real world living, lest they be void of compassion and unaware of that are not the center of the universe. In this first world country, we worry about self-esteem and the ramifications of it running low.
I have written about this. I have preached it. I have reminded my babies they aren’t that great. They came to serve, not be served, and now as they enter into the ranks of adulthood that looks much different. We have passed the season of sitting with the new kid at lunch or intervening when the chubby kid is getting bullied. Now is the time.
The proverbial rubber is hitting the road.
And I woke last night to feed our angel foster placement. I sat in the dark as she greedily gulped down a warmed bottle, and I thumbed through my phone. Chills covered every inch of me. A lump rose in my throat. I came upon a Facebook post by one of my children and suddenly, I wished to take it all back.
“Pick someone else, Lord.”
“Not my babies.”
I composed myself. I lay the infant back her in bassinet. I got some water. I dug in my nightstand in the dark for a Xanax, I took something, I suspect it was a laxative. And with hot tears streaming, I begged God, “pick someone else.”
The weight of the Facebook post – he said it out loud. On Facebook. Which all of my children profess is social media for “old folks.” And I opened my phone and read it again… he had posted it at 1:00 am. Which means, he is up nights, pondering kingdom work.
I know what I said. I know what I prayed. But here now, I want the lighter load. The easier and safer road.
And now the tears actually fall because – I don’t really want to take it back.
I wanted to raise men and women warriors.
Time to face the music. They must stumble and fall in order to teach others to walk. They must screw up and be humiliated and scarred – that their wounds heal and they use them to lead the other victims out of the darkness.
A priest once told us every year in the spring around graduation parents come to him begging advice.
“My child wants to be a priest/nun/missionary… Can you talk some sense into them?”
And the priest found this fascinating.
What were you raising them up to do? Why were you in that pew every Sunday of that child’s life? Why did you bother to teach them right from wrong? Why did you sing the song “This little light of mine…” if you had no intention of them letting it shine?
What are you saving them for?
So much conviction. So much truth. What are we saving these wee humans for? And not saving as in “salvation.” Saving in the sense of stowing away – hiding them from that which hurts or is dangerous… or heroic.
And I know I raised nice kids. But deeper still I know I raised potential heroes. Not to bolster my ego – but kingdom heroes. And now as the rubber meets the road I do my best to whisper in the dark, “pick me.” Pick me to be the mom that boldly says “let’s go” and prays that they go do the hard work. The ugly work. The lonely work. Pick them. Pick us.
And I will chant this, but I will also pray for safety and then I will chant this some more.
I will cling to my God’s ability to make good come from everything. Every single thing.
And then, I went upstairs and in the dark, in the quiet, I tip-toed about – and I stole their deodorant, toothpaste, body wash and other hygiene products in hopes they smell so bad – they will have to stay here, safe and sound, with their mommy.
Letting go is a process you know…
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
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