For those who might not know, Jon grew up on the mission field. His parents lived on a tributary of the Amazon River with an indigenous tribe called the Ese Ejas. They became family to each other. So much so, Jon’s oldest sister and her family still live in Bolivia. Mission work is in the Wyma blood.
So, when Jon and I met and we realized we were falling in love, one of the first things Jon asked me was, “Do you think you could be a missionary?” I responded with an enthusiastic, whole-hearted affirmation, “Absolutely!” And I leaned into the dreamy adventure of it all.
Well, it didn’t take long for Jon to question my response. His doubt might have had something to do with my reaction to a roach in our first little rental home. In my defense, that bug was huge and quite possibly flew. But, Jon just shook his head and laughed as he he killed the dreaded intruder. “… And you think you could handle the mission field? It’s this – ” he said holding the dead creature, “times a thousand – and then some. Not to mention the tarantulas, the snakes, the… “ He didn’t need to go on. I’ll admit it. I’m a weenie. I’ll take 1000-thread sheet count over 1000 bugs any day.
But I realized today, that though I might not be a missionary in a jungle on the Amazon River or live a village far across the globe, I am a missionary in Dallas.
A missionary … in a slightly unconventional, but equally as loving, way.
My mission field is social gatherings and functions of any type. Yes, I’m a Missionary Dresser. In fact, I did it this morning – providing fertile ground on which those around me could walk and feel good about themselves. It’s my gift to the world.
At our school’s Parent Fellowship meeting to start the year, I showed up in a white t-shirt from Target and old tennis skirt that I might have worn yesterday (eek) – but only part of yesterday. Please… I’m not that gauche.
“Wow… you already played tennis this morning?” asked one of the new teachers who I was meeting for the first time.
“Ummm….” What?! It’s 8 AM. I’m still trying to remember to back out of the driveway with a full car – full of people and gas. “No … I um…” I wondered if I should admit that a lot of Dallas tennis-skirt wearers do so without always playing; instead I changed the subject. “So how are you liking it here in Big D?”
You might think my unbrushed hair, swept up in a make-shift bun is a last-minute, run-out-the-door routine. It isn’t. I carefully consider, as I get out of bed and forget to brush my teeth, that everyone with whom I come into contact will feel better about themselves because of me.
I’m a Missionary Dresser. I like to set the bar low. Any self-conscious guest can rest assured and feel good because, “at least I’m not wearing what she is!” And, for those concerned about forgetting to grab a piece of gum to combat morning breath? Stand next to me… I just had black coffee. You’re good to go.
And, yes, that’s me in the broom skirt from the 1990’s and sandals, revealing a pedicure gone bad. The invitation said casual chic? I mean really – who even knows what that means? No worries. In my capacity as missionary dresser, I’m there for you. I live to help you feel good about your styling decision – no matter the outfit.
And make-up? Yeah, I’ve got that covered, too – or not. I’ve no clue how to use it. Remedial at best. So stand by me and breathe. You’re beautiful.
Look for me at the next function, school meeting, or social gathering – I’m the one underdressed. I’ll postpone my shower and wait to put on deodorant – for you. Because, I’m there for you. I set the bar low so that others can stand confident in the fact that at least they don’t sit at the bottom of the stylish totem pole.
Missionary dressing. It might not be the Amazon River, but it’s still a worthy cause.
“Hmmmm…” I look down at a recent interview and question whether I should have reconsidered getting that pedicure ~~ Nahhh… setting the bar low so others feel good about themselves.
Thanks for walking the road with me.