I put on pants this morning.
To be clear, I usually wear some kind of pants. But lately, I’ve been primarily wearing a particularly comfy pair of pajama pants, a sort of a black, white and purple cheetah pattern. Ridiculously soft fleece, they only touch me at the drawstring waist. But today, I put on REAL pants.
I also put on a bra. And my contacts, a little bit of makeup and some earrings. And for a little while, I even put on some shoes.
With all that is happening in the world right now, I know this is not particularly earth shattering news. My fashion choices are not one bit interesting. But putting on pants for me today represented an important choice in these difficult times, so bear with me, dear reader.
Like all of you, our family’s life has been impacted by the global pandemic. As 2020 began, I was THRILLED to have multiple Being Brave events on the calendar. I was making changes in my presentation, excited to share my message with new friends. But, like everything else, my events were cancelled. My husband leads a company in the travel industry and the challenges they face to protect their employees are daunting. We worry about our oldest daughter in Los Angeles who just got laid off from her job, and our younger daughter who just moved to London at the beginning of March. We worry about our far away parents in Texas who have health challenges that increase their risk. We worry about our friend going through cancer treatment. We worry about those who are wondering how they will feed their family without a paycheck and for those whose loved ones are infected with the virus. We worry about my friends at the Lamb Center; the guests, the staff and the volunteers. We watch in horror the news from Italy and worry we are next.
For the last week or so, I filled my days watching the television coverage while simultaneously checking social media on the computer in my lap. HOURS of tv, hours of social media. In my soft, comfy PJ pants, no bra, no makeup, listening and reading, heartbroken for our hurting, sick, frightened world. Just like after 9-11, standing watch seemed like the next right thing to do. Compassion means to “suffer with,” right? I’ve barely moved for days.
This morning I read one of my favorite verses:
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12- 14
I’ve read this verse thousands of time. I’m the “all about the love” kind of Jesus follower, so I adore the imagery of “clothing myself” with compassion, kindness, and humility. I love the reminder to wear gentleness and patience more often. And I love the metaphor of “putting on love” like my favorite sweater. This verse paints a portrait of exactly the kind of person I want to be in the world. Especially now.
But today, I heard something different when I read these words. Today, a little nudge in my spirit whispered I might need to PUT ON something else.
It was time to put on pants.
And a bra. And maybe a little makeup.
Hear me clearly, there is nothing virtuous about wearing pants, bras or makeup. In fact, my daughter would argue that a bra is a “harness of the patriarchy.” Many women who aren’t part Texan like me never put on makeup and they are beautiful just the way they are. And putting on my comfy PJ pants and curling up in front of the fire at the end of a long day is one of my favorite acts of self-care.
But today, I needed to re-engage with my life. My new, weird, in-between life. This new normal-for-the-foreseeable future life. This all-hands-on-deck to heal the world life. And FOR ME, that meant putting on pants.
So after checking in and offering God my wise perspective on all the things that needed to be fixed in the world ASAP (I mean SERIOUSLY, Lord!) I wrote down what I wanted to do with this in-between season:
- Who do I want to be?
- How do I want to show up in the world?
- Even stuck in my house, how can I be a light in this dark time?
- How can I serve my people, take care of our community, AND take good care of myself?
- How then shall we live?
And then I got dressed, combed my hair, put on a little bit of makeup to make me feel like I was going somewhere, and I went to a different chair in a different room–a room with no tv. After a few hours of working, I stopped, went outside, looked at my flowers for a few minutes, and took a walk. Then I got back to work. In a little while, I am going to watch the news to see what happened today so I can stay informed on the latest. For me, today felt more balanced. My heart unclenched a tiny bit.
You might not need to put on pants. In fact, your engaging with this in-between life might look completely different. You might need more time to watch the news, or talk on the phone, or eat different snacks, or binge watch West Wing, or whatever you do to calm your anxiety. (Around here we highly recommend West Wing or Gilmore Girls for binge watching.) You might need to dive into your work in a new way. And for those of you with bored little people at home, know I am praying BIG for you! I can’t even imagine. Lord, have mercy!
But here is the thing I’m trying to say, we have to decide how to actually live THIS life. For now, for a week, or 3 weeks, or a month, or 3 months, this IS our life even though it is unrecognizable in many ways. We need to STAY HOME, but we still need to SHOW UP. We need to engage so we can take care of each other. Right now, taking care of each other looks like staying home and figuring out how to keep living our life in this in-between time. One minute at a time. One day at a time.
As I’ve told you so many times before here on these pages, all we can do ever do is this:
- Show up.
- Do the next right thing.
- Trust the process.
Today, my next right thing, my way to show up, was to put on pants.
What is your next right thing?
Time on your hands? On Friday of this week, March 20th, my next right thing and a way to serve my people is to offer a FREE Introduction to the Enneagram webinar. We are meeting on ZOOM at 10:30 a.m. EST. If you would like to learn more about the Enneagram, check out this FB event for more information.
Also, a couple of other resources (Thanks Mom!) I’m finding helpful right now: