Last Friday before we left for Houston to celebrate Bryan’s birthday, I made a quick trip to Utica Square for a little retail therapy.
I have been feeling so fat and frumpy lately, not to mention utterly exhausted and frazzled after another round of spirit-sapping insomnia. Plus we’re in that weird time period between seasons where it’s not quite Spring, but yet I’m totally sick of everything in my closet. And then to top it off I just wanted something cute and colorful and fun to wear to Bryan’s party – absolutely no gray, brown, or black allowed!
Anyway, I walk into Ann Taylor Loft (or Ann Taylor Lift as Tripp likes to call it) and it felt like I stepped into Woodward Park. There were corals, pinks, greens, and yellows in full bloom on every table and display and as I wandered through the store, I was mesmerized by all the choices. The only problem was that my pathetic, sleep-deprived brain was unable to focus on any of it and I found myself completely overwhelmed and almost in tears.
I was getting ready to leave, so I walked over to put back the dark denim capris I’d been carrying around. One of the sales gals who happened to be arranging some tops nearby asked me if she could help me find something. And then like word vomit, I proceeded to tell her basically what I just shared with you in the in the previous two paragraphs (only less thought out and more emotional and scatterbrained).
The sales gal was probably about my age, so instead of looking at me like I was a freak, she gave me a sympathetic smile and began making some suggestions. She herded me back to the fitting room and brought back a couple of options. I tried on several different looks and finally decided on a coral blouse and denim capris. Before checking out, she showed me a set of bangle bracelets and a necklace to complete my outfit and then $187 later I had a fun, colorful outfit to wear to the party.
As I was leaving I told the gal for the 147th time how much I appreciated her help (I think I even hugged her) and then she said to me, “Well you just made my day. This is what I love to do, and for once I feel like what I do actually matters.”
Walking back to my car last Friday I was so touched (albeit surprised) that I could make someone’s day by being a total mess, and I have thought about what this gal (man I wish I could remember her name) said for days now.
I don’t know if you ever feel this way, but it seems like to me that there is so much pressure in society for women (and I don’t know maybe men too) to be good at everything. Maybe it’s just me and my perfectionist/overachiever nature. Or maybe it’s because we are constantly being bombarded by images of perfectly kept houses run by perfectly styled women who cook beautiful, perfect food and have perfect children who like their moms excel in every activity!
In the past, I have always felt like a total slacker because I can’t do it all. I can’t scrapbook AND keep my house clean at the same time. I can’t take photos AND keep up with my laundry. I can’t keep the weeds out of my flowerbeds AND cook a four course dinner. I can’t talk to my daughter on the phone AND remember everything on the grocery list I left at home on the kitchen counter. I can’t do it all.
But what if that is OK? What if in my weakness, I give someone the gift of feeling good about herself for a minute. What if my frailty helps someone else feel strong for once? And what if my imperfections give someone else the gift of feeling valuable?
Maybe, just maybe, that little bit of Grace could make someone’s day. And I’d say that’s a gift that keeps on giving.