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Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bathing Suit Museum

I grew up in Northern California. We had a big inground pool in our backyard and we five kids were always somewhere near the water during the summer. Those vacation days were hot almost every day and a sapphire blue sky beckoned us outdoors.
That was back in the day when bathing suits didn't cost a hundred dollars. And so, even on my dad's schoolteacher salary, we could all afford a decent suit.
I can remember just about every bathing suit I've ever worn since my teen days.
There was the pink two-piecer: I wore this one for two years.
Then there was the wild and crazy kind-of bikini: I didn't mind wearing this one around the house, but I did mind having to wear it (it was the only one I owned) to swim class at high school. All the boys would parade past the pool on their way to soccer or whatever and they'd ogle us girls.
When I married Bruce I weighed a scant 105 pounds. 34-24-34 were my dimensions and I proudly wore a yellow bikini on our honeymoon.
Then there was the pregnant bathing suit. Ugh.
My suit sizes have gone up. No more size 2.
Most of the time when Bruce and I swim it's at a motel far from home. Where nobody knows me.
The anonymity makes me feel less self-conscious.
Half of the time, when we go on a road trip, we forget to bring out suits. Then I insist that we stop off at WalMart and buy a cheap one just for the trip.
We joke about how funny it would be if we had a room in our house just devoted to displaying our suits. It would be a kind of bathing suit museum. Each suit would be under glass, complete with the name of the wearer, the date, and possibly the occasion where it was worn.
I don't much like to wear bathing suits anymore. I'm in my fifties and, even though I'm still strong and fit, my shape isn't quite the shape of my youth.
I suppose that a swimsuit is a kind of gauge of how I wish, or don't wish to be viewed by the world. It reveals that I'm prideful and a perfectionist. God continues to work on me in these areas.
I frequently see people at motel pools who aren't self-conscious about their bodies. Many of them have lumpy, saggy bodies.
I wish I could stroll out to the pool with the same abandon as these sun-bathers.
It's gotten me to wondering: do I hide my internal flaws with the same self-consciousness that I hide my aging body?
What does that say about me?
I'd like to say that I have great self-control so I avoid saying or doing anything that would bring shame to God.
But is that the real reason I hide the real me?
Job 12:20 says, "He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings deep shadows into the light."

Perhaps one day I'll have a room, open to visitors and friends, that presents my internal flaws. Each display would carry a label with words such as: July 1, 2010: "I gossiped about you and I'm sorry." Or Aug. 10th, 2010: "I didn't quite tell the truth."

God, may you develop in me the freedom and courage to reveal the real me. Help me to face my imperfections and allow You to transform me.

1 comment:

  1. Thought provoking post, Dena. I appreciate your transparency.