Jeans on Sunday
Yesterday morning I wasn’t feeling so hot, and I ended up not going to church service. Not cool. I was tired of wallowing around at the apartment, so I decided I was going to suck it up and make it to Sunday school. I hate missing church, it throws my whole week off. I also hadn’t been out of the house much since the previous Wednesday.
Usually I like to at least make an attempt to wear something nice to church. Is it for propriety’s sake? Uhm, no. It’s because six days out of the week I am dressed in the basic uniform of the stay at home mom — t-shirt and capris or shorts — and for one day I like to put a little extra effort into my appearance. (Some of you are laughing. Yes, I do my hair and makeup every day of the week no matter what, but I said extra effort for Sundays.) Yesterday was different though. Even if I wasn’t going to put in the time and energy I normally would, I was determined to go.
I stood in my closet and thoughtfully studied my garments. Dress? Nah. Slacks? Nope. Jeans? YES. It felt like a jeans day. You can always dress up jeans, too. The right top, some accessories, and you’re set. But I didn’t feel like dressing up the jeans. I looked at my tops and selected a t-shirt that had some writing and a few scattered sparkly things on it and figured that would do. I slipped my feet into my flip-flops and I was off.
As I got out of the car and walked up to class, I thought back to when I started attending my church. I was 11-years-old, and going to church meant wearing a dress. Or a skirt. But usually a dress. Also closed-toed shoes, and pantyhose. Tan or taupe. As I got older, things started relaxing — I remember feeling okay wearing jeans on Sunday nights, but not shorts. That seemed to be the norm, and I don’t recall anyone really telling us what we could or couldn’t wear. (Except two-piece bathing suits on youth outings. “There’s more cotton in an aspirin bottle than on than suit!” I was inclined to agree with that one.)
Now when I walk into church, I still see people dressed up. I also see jeans. I see shorts. I see lots of flip flops. I even see some bare feet during class. Nobody flinches. Nobody cringes. (Except W now that I mentioned bare feet in class.)
Even with that kind of change, though, I still feel like the church hasn’t changed. It’s still a family, my family. Some things will change, others will stay the same, and I’ll still love it. I don’t have to like everything about it, I don’t have to be in agreement with every decision. I know its imperfections, but I also know the qualities that make it the place I have wanted to be for 21 years.
I like the programs, I feel like the heart of the leadership is really in the right place, but mostly I just love the people. I love that there are people that have known me since I was a really awkward elementary schooler, and then an even more awkward youth, and they still love me as an awkward wife and mother of two. They loved me through the two biggest mistakes of my life and never treated me any differently. They love me, love The Husband, love my girls. The Husband and I have lived here all our lives, and our families are close. Even with that comfortable connection in our laps, we have still developed an extended family where we worship. I don’t know what we’d do without them. So many people to learn from, to grow with, to have fun with. To love right back.
There are people who look at my family and see a big building filled with old-fashioned tenets and uppity hypocrites in suits and dresses. I have two words for those people…