The night my Mama died, it was after midnight before we left the hospital. My sister Mess Cat and my oldest Aub and I headed back to my Mama’s house since it was so late. We were exhausted, and despite the fact that there were at least three beds (two doubles) in the house, we all three piled up on the two couches in the big room and tried to get some rest.
The only clothes I had with me were the hospital-filthy ones I was wearing. Perhaps you know the ones–those that you can’t wait to get out of and drop to the floor and only touch again with two fingers to drop into a washer for a long soak and washing. I also had a pair of clean knit pants that I had thrown in a bag when I planned on spending the night with Mama at the hospital–purely for comfort’s sake. When I got up the next morning and began to get ready for the day of meetings with the funeral home, florist, and many others, I threw on the knit pants and grabbed a sweatshirt I’d gotten for Mama at the GW Boutique. It wasn’t lovely, but I was clothed, and that was a far cry better than I felt like I could do on the inside.
We went and did what had to be done. Driving around in pouring down rain, putting the pieces together to honor Mama and her life as best we could. It was a hard day.
But here’s the thing I’ve been thinking about lately.
I was out. In public. In those knit pants and a sweatshirt. An Eeyore sweatshirt.
It wasn’t a pretty sight y’all, I can promise you that.
I remember my one friend we saw, smiling and saying, not unkindly, she’d never seen me when I wasn’t in my jeans. And that is probably the truth. My jeans are pretty much the staple of my wardrobe. Everything goes with them, and they’re comfortable (if not always fashionable–as my Fella says, “Comfort is king”).
Occasionally a picture comes across my feed on social media where someone (sometimes it’s a person I know and sometimes not) has taken a picture of a person out “in public” who is dressed in a unique way. Or their look is unusual for one reason or another. And someone chooses to take a picture and point out just how unusual the person is.
Okay, I’m just going to call it what it is. They’re posting it to make fun of that person in the picture.
And it’s not just on social media. There’s a whole website devoted to the shoppers of a certain Mart, where photos of folks who come “as they are” have been photographed and put out there for all to see.
If someone took a picture of me the day after my Mama died, I could have made one of those pages or I could have been an interesting Facebook post for someone. I am sure my fashion choices (oh did I mention the main color of the outfit was grey, but the only shoes I had were camel colored suede?) made some folks’ heads turn. But the thing is, there was a reason why.
And I would wager a bet that there usually is in most cases.
I’m not innocent of this myself. I point out interesting folks. But I have to draw the line at taking a picture and poking fun. I just don’t see how that is serving any purpose other than giving the darkness and brokenness in our world a more solid foothold.
I have to wonder why this makes folks feel good about themselves or why it’s considered entertaining.
Tonight I’m thankful for this memory and for the reminder to be on watch for my own pointing fingers. People are people, and most are doing the best they can with what they have. Who am I to point out their mismatched clothes, their peekaboo underwear, their fascinating hairstyles, or anything else for that matter?
We’re all in this together. I need to remember that, and that there’s always more to the story than what meets the eye.
May we all begin to truly understand that.
Love to all.