Friday, October 31, 2008

From Embarrassing to Humiliating

This past week has had its fill of embarrassing moments. It all began Monday with my trip to the chiropractor. After the adjustment, he casually asked if I were going straight home or running errands. That seemed like a strange question to me so I jokingly responded, “Why? Do you want me to cover for you while you step out?” He said, “No, your shirt is on wrong side out.”

That was my first one.

My second experience was much more humiliating. When I found out about my shirt I was embarrassed but only for a few minutes. After that it just seemed funny. After I told my friend Jenny about my next experience, however, she said, “Wow. That is one I think I would feel dumb about for a few days.”

It happened Wednesday morning. I finished teaching my seminary class and was putting away my things when the people over the program, two women and a man, came in and sat down. I asked what brought them to the building and was told they needed to meet and decided to do so at our building so they could see how things were going. I assumed they held their meeting during seminary and now wanted to visit with the teachers.

So, I have been known to be loquacious, and these were all very fun people I have had lengthy conversations with in the past, so I was thrilled they were all there together in one room to talk with. And in my defense I must say that they all contributed to the conversation. But after about an hour, the man asked me if I knew what time it was. I told him, and continued talking. About ten minutes later, he mentioned that he really needed to get to work. I thought, “So, go” and kept on talking. About ten minutes after that, however, I decided I needed to get home so began to say my goodbyes and finish cleaning up. I thought they would all get up to leave as well, but they didn’t. I thought, “Wow. They are not in a hurry to leave at all.” So I stayed and visited with them for a few minutes more until I knew I could not stay any longer and said my final goodbye. It was then they all pulled out their notebooks and got ready for their meeting.

Talk about being clueless! The entire time—over an hour and a half—they were waiting for me to leave so they could meet. When I realized what had happened I apologized and hurried home where I wanted to hide until everyone’s memory was dimmed by time.

In thinking about it, however, I decided embarrassing, and even humiliating moments, are part of life and in some ways season it. They remind us of our humanness and give us something to laugh about later. We have a friend whose embarrassing moment has brought us a great deal of laughter over time. He was snorkeling in murky water at Hanauma Bay, Hawaii, when he came upon a rather unusual hairy sea creature. He was feeling up and down it in an effort to examine it more closely, and thinking, “This is so strange!” when he realized he had a hold of a man’s leg. That story always gets a good laugh at parties.

And so although my week has been both embarrassing and humiliating, I know my experiences in time will become part of . . . the joy of the journey.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Facing Reality

I once attended a Sunday School class for young marrieds where some of the members of the class had children in their early twenties. My husband and I, who had only been married a few months, laughed at their delusion. After ten years, are you really still newlyweds? After twenty, isn’t it time to face the fact that you are getting old?
Yet twenty years later, I understood. For some reason, everyone else seemed to get older, while for me time stood still. Everyone else aged, while I remained in my youth. And then it happened. I looked into the mirror one morning and reality stared back. I cried. I have since realized aging isn’t all bad, though. Sure there are new aches and pains, wrinkles and graying hair, but there are also new joys and opportunities.
This past year has been a big one for us. In March, after six years of dating, my oldest daughter Camille, married Dave, the love of her life. About a month later, she called home and excitedly asked to be put on speaker phone as she had an announcement. She was having a baby! And that of course meant that I was going to be a grandma. I asked her how long she had known and she said, “About a minute.” I loved that. I am glad she didn’t wait to share her joy. And despite the fact that I am not terribly excited about being called “Grandma”, I am eagerly looking forward to having another little one in our family. And that little baby Carly is expected to arrive right around Christmas, means that Santa will be bringing us the perfect Christmas gift this year.
But the fun doesn’t stop there. A month ago, my only son announced that after a four week courtship, he too was joining the ranks of the married. The big day will be the Saturday after Thanksgiving. His fiancĂ© is a very sweet and beautiful girl named Kali, who thankfully, is also from Arizona. And together their love is deeper, wider, and more profound than any other love shared by any other couple since time began—or at least that is what Ryan tells me.
So this year, 2008, I will have become a mother-in-law twice over, and a grandma. My husband of 26 years will turn 50 and I am ready to admit to myself, and the world, that I am unashamedly, unapologetically, and decidedly, middle aged. But with that proclamation, I am also determined to . . . find joy in the journey!