I stand in the checkout line, cart loaded with perimeter foods–berries and avocados and lettuce and cherries and grapes.
I can’t wait to get home to have a plate of hummus with pita bread and a side of Kalamata olives and a handful of carrots.
Oh, and a few (or more) Oreo cookies.
If I didn’t have to wait, the magazines wouldn’t talk to me. And the headlines wouldn’t scream at me. Complete with exclamation points. Like these:
ICED TEA MELTS FAT! Lose 40 pounds–without dieting…
Age-Proof Your Brain (with sweet potatoes!)
Reverse Memory Loss (with grape juice!)
Can’t zip your jeans? Try the bloating cure in your own backyard!
Discover the “detox” supplement that ENDS TIREDNESS!
Crow’s Feet? (Change the way you sleep!)
Kitchen Cures for Gorgeous Hair!
My right hand grabs my left wrist. Don’t do it. Don’t do it!
I pay for my groceries, gather my bags, wheel my way toward the exit, inhale the fragrance that wafts from the shelves of flowers (that remind me I’m less-than because I don’t have a fresh bouquet on my dining room table.)
I drive home, flip down the visor and glance at myself in the mirror. I must be more tired that I realize because one eye is a little smaller than the other today. And I didn’t cover the dark circles or the brown spot on my cheek very well, and I have a zit on my chin.
It only takes five trips to carry in all the bags. I fish out the tubs of ice cream and dump them in the freezer, serve myself a healthy lunch. I notice the 12-ounce bottles of Coke in the back kitchen that haven’t found their way to the downstairs fridge since last week. Only 140 calories–70 if I only drink half. I berate myself for lack of discipline. I putz around the kitchen while I eat and then sit down at the table with my Oreos and (God Bless America) my Woman’s World to read all these promises about how I can look like the young woman on the cover.
I turn on the TV to catch up on the news while I put away the rest of the groceries and clean up the kitchen. I toss the never-cut-no-longer-fresh pineapple that still languishes behind the leftovers.
Commercial after commercial offers up more promises about things I deserve, and Debby Boone tells me again how I can light up my life and transform my appearance, how I can turn back the hands of time, wake up and see myself the way I looked years ago. If I had the money, I’d be so tempted to give myself this gift.
Maybe I could get close to the same results if I took better care of myself. If that doesn’t work, well then maybe Debby and I can talk.
I dump the rest of my Coke down the sink.
Valerie Hess and Lane Arnold remind me in their closing prayer for the chapter entitled “Questioning Cultural Messages” that I am God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10.) His poemia, His poem. A mystery to ponder. Just as I am. In this season.
Michael Card sings about it
Music, art, literature, drama and dance surround people of all ages with mirrors: an image of the artist’s view of God, or no God, as well as humanity’s perspective at that moment. Bombarded constantly with visual images, song lyrics and advertisements, these messages subtly impress on us what we are or are not to be and how we should look. With wisdom and discretion, we need to discover for ourselves, as well as teach children, what those influences are carving into our heart, body, mind and soul. We must translate or transform cultural messages into truth about how we are to care for our body and for each other. ~ The Life of the Body, p. 81
Over at The High Calling this week, we’re continuing our discussion of The Life of the Body: Physical Well-Being and Spiritual Formation by Valerie Hess and Lane Arnold. Duane Scott is leading us through chapters 6-8 and tells us about an eleven-year-old young girl who struggles to eat 300 calories. You don’t want to miss that.
Jody Lee Collins says
Sandy, I too would mortgage my children if possible to pay for that chin lift Debby Boone tells me about on a weekly basis. And then I remember my sister in law’s line about wrinkles, “Honey, I earned everyone of them–I’m keepin’ ’em!”
Not only are you(we) a poem, wrinkles and all, but many of us are entire books–think of the wisdom! I love reading yours.
Alyssa Santos says
Oh, don’t we wage an internal war with ourselves? I watched a documentary, I think called “The greatest story ever Sold” about the social and commercial connection between media and moviemaking and the advertising world. The filmmaker went to a city in South America (can’t remember which country) and there were no ads anywhere. None on buses, no billboards, only the actual storefront signs. The city outlawed them. The people were glad and said they actually had the presence of mind to focus and the business owners said they had to focus on things like customer satisfaction. I wonder what our society would be like without the bombardment of advertising and the continual reminders that we are “less than” without this or that. But God says we are his masterpiece, his poemia. And how could we not be since Jesus gave his life for us. What a gift to read your words and share this struggle and know the hope of which you speak. May we settle into this truth.
Martha Orlando says
Yes, we are His one-of-a-kind poems, beloved and beautiful in His eyes, no matter how we look to the world.
Megan Willome says
Here’s what you do, Sandy. Buy yourself a magazine with a Kardashian on the front. Read it. You will instantly feel better about yourself and whatever life has thrown your way. (I learned this tip from my daughter.)
Diana Trautwein says
Omigosh, I LOVE Megan’s comment. And this is magnificent, Sandy. And so, so true. (and sad, too) Sigh. Remembering who we truly are is one of the hugest parts of our calling, seems to me. Not succumbing to the siren call of ‘do more,’ ‘be more.’ Thanks for this.