“There’s a side to you that I never knew, Kay Wyma,” my friend Brooke smiled. We were last to leave the morning gathering.
“Yes,” she continued, “I learned a few things about you last week – from your car.”
New things about me from my car? My mind raced to grab hold of anything tangible that might give me a clue.
Then I remembered.
Oh my goodness. My car!
She had been so super nice the week before to run to my car and grab something for me. I had been on deck to lead our Tuesday summer Bible study on heaven. Being the flake that I am and never pretend to not be, I had left the book we’re studying on the passenger seat of my car. Introductions of the morning had been made, the make-shift recording started, I realized I didn’t have the necessary materials, saw Brooke and loud-whispered Hey, could you run to my car and grab my book?
Johnny-on-the-spot she jumped right up and turned for the door. Then realized, “What do you drive?”
“The dented white Sequoia parked on the far right.” Yes, still dented from the time nice-young-man Eugene crashed us a few years ago.
She slipped me my book upon returning and off our group journeyed on the very interesting, challenging, hope-filled road of considering life In Light of Eternity.
So as I stood in front of Brooke this week and my mind raced to put together the “I’ve learned a few things about you” pieces, it didn’t take me long.
She’d seen the inside of my car. The outside has issues of its own, but the inside – now that’s raw. I mean it’s summer. Kids, kids and more kids have been in and out of that thing. [Sidenote: One of motherhood’s job perks is the ability to share the mess-blame for kitchens, bathrooms, back or front yards, living rooms, AND cars.]
The torn seats, the wrappers, the slurpee cup that may or may not have sat in a cup-holder for a week, the swim towels, the extra shoes (one waterproof pair which came in extra handy at Costco the other day when a storm blew in and I didn’t want to ruin my new sandals), … the list really does go on. Collectively the inside of my car added a new dimension to her knowledge of me.
I guess she learned that I’m not lying when I say I haven’t got it all together. She got to see up close and personal our very regular life. Some days we’re holding on by a thread. Others, we’re just a family of 7 that comes with lot of stuff – apparently much of which has been left to fester in our car. In reality, we come to the show regular – regular with lots of love and little expectations of perfection … sprinkled with a dash of procrastination for good measure.
Yes, my car said much to my dear friend Brooke. “The torn seats?” I asked her.
“Yeah,” she replied. “And a little more.”
Brooke’s nodding smile warmed my soul. And all the wonderful aspects of authentic friendship – even friendship that is relatively new (we’ve only really known each other a couple of years) – washed over me. And I melted into vulnerably and acceptance. She was meeting me in the midst – not running away or gasping or whispering. She wasn’t judging me.
And so, I refused to judge myself. I held tight to the thoughts that tempted me to freak out. You know the ones.
She saw our – MY – mess! What must she think of me? Everyone else has their stuff together. What’s wrong with me?
“I love you even more,” she announced.
There you have it.
Then, later as if on cue, another friend emailed me Ann Voskamp’s post from this week:
There could be Key Women who turn to their sisters and unlock everything with their own anthem coming like a freedom song:
I won’t judge you for dishes in your sink and shoes over your floor and laundry on your couch.
I won’t judge you for choosing not to spend your one life weeding the garden or washing the windows or working on organizing the pantry.
I won’t judge you for the size of your waist, the flatness, bigness, cut or color of your hair, the hipness or the matronliness of your clothes, and I won’t judge whether you work at a stove, a screen, a store, a steering wheel, a sink or a stage.
I won’t judge you for where you are on your road, won’t belittle your offering, your creativity, your battle, your work.
The key to the future of our communities, our culture, the church is whether there are Key People — people who will not imprison with labels and boxes but will unlock with key words, with key acts of freeing.
A lovely non-judgmental morsel for thought (maybe a manna-morsel).
I think the key for most women is not only ditching the judgment of each other, but slowing down the often misguided/overly harsh judgment of ourselves.
I’m determined to train my kids to self-assess in the light that God sees them. To focus their attention on striving for excellence as it relates to their best (not THE best), to let the Lord’s (rather than society’s) light inform the image/reflection they see in the mirror, to consider perspective rather than latch onto a glimpse … and on it goes.
But it’s almost impossible to impart training on a subject of which I am not intimately aware myself.
So – Here’s to helping each other. Thank you Brooke for living-out-loud in light of eternity, for using your keys to unlock an even deeper friendship. And, as always, thanks to all of you for walking the road with me.