With the passing of Halloween and All Saints Day, I had a realization, an AHA! moment if you will.
At the high school where Phil and I work, some of the students dressed up as teachers for Halloween. It's totally funny and respectful and everyone involved enjoys it. One of our teachers always wears a suit, so he was pretty easy to imitate, another teacher has a sort of eclectic style that includes flowery skirts and jewelry, also a good one to pick. But it left me thinking, if somebody were to dress up like me, what would they wear? How do they view me?
Fast forward to All Saints Day. For ten years now, we have had kids in Catholic schools which means my kids have been dressing up as saints for a decade. Wow how time flies!
|All Saints Day 2010|
Anyway, it is so cute to see all the elementary school kids dressed as saints, and they are all dressed so modestly and properly. Because that's how saints are viewed and depicted and revered. We're probably not going to see any future saints whose normal day-to-day outfit is a skimpy bikini or ripped jeans and tank top.
This all led me to my revelation...What we wear matters! How we present ourselves matters! The way we handle ourselves matter!
That's not to say we should all be wearing designer clothes or suits all the live-long-day because:
But! Here's where the light shined on my marble head, we can still make our (public) appearance as good as possible for the role we are called to play. We can shower, and comb our hair, and keep our homes picked up, and exercise and eat well, and speak well of one another, and smile more often, and help others in need, and go to confession to get our inside sparkly clean, etc. None of these things cost too much or require too much energy.
On the weekend, after having dressed up for work all week, I usually tend towards comfy clothing. But I have to get dressed no matter what, so I can choose to wear crumpled old sweats or I can put on some real pants and a sweater and look put-together and make sure my outwardly appearance is happy and cheerful. The same goes for our kids, clean clothes and good grooming and nice manners can go a long way. This is not about being vain or proud (which it can easily turn into) but about taking care of our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit and presenting ourselves as someone who is joyful and helpful and beautiful from the inside out.
At Mass, when I see the families who take the time to dress up, and appear to be happy and peaceful, it actually moves me. It makes we want whatever they're having, do what they're doing. They make family life look attractive. I want to do that for others. I don't want to be the huge family that people look at and feel badly for or become the poster family with the slogan "Big Family Life - As Terrible As We Look." I want to smile more, and wave hello more, and iron my wrinkly skirts more ;)
Again, this is not purely about physical appearance. One of the most beautiful women ever, in my opinion, is Mother Theresa - her smile and gentle humilty speak volumes about her love for God.
Her beauty shone through in the way she lived and how she carried herself. Nothing is less beautiful than somebody with a mean spirit and selfish personality. But I am realizing more and more that what's on our inside can carry over to our outside and we can be as beautiful as possible with a little effort. Then if God-willing, one day we actually make it to Heaven, future generations of children can dress like these Saints Martin:
and not these Saints Martin:
Who's with me?