Field Trips; Rat Mazes; and an Authentic Alien
I LOVE field trips! Unfortunately, I am an adult and my job usually does not provide opportunities for this type of fun learning. Therefore, today I decided to "fix" this.
In preparation for this field trip, I had memorized the name of the one product I thought I would purchase. Silly me, I thought this would be an excellent mini adventure to expand my "mid-life" world. (Sometimes I worry that my lack of "adulting" with clothing, make-up, and desire for "stuff" has left me missing something.)
Knowing very little about this foreign land that I was stepping into, I took on the mantra of "Fake it, till you make it" and proceed to walk into this store. Shoulders back; head up; and boobs out, I stepped across the threshold, entering this new land as a "Makeup Immigrant." Letting out a long, slow breath, like a hippo getting ready to submerge, I meandered through the brightly lit maze of products with interesting promises. Almost instantly, I was aware of a silent audience. They gazed at me from the peripherals, hidden between the tall glass columns which camouflaged their petite bodies and the rounds of products they were "tending" to. Their pale, precisely painted faces and gawking eyes turned toward this warm brown skinned girl with no foundation on and messy hair from driving topless. They were tracking each step I took with their darkly outlined eyes.
(To say I felt like a naked, over-stuffed rat in an experimental maze would be a slight understatement.) Did I mention, I had even tried to disguise myself by "Doing my face" this morning? Obviously, my camouflage was not working.
Less than three minutes in, I was completely lost and I could feel the tentacles of insecurity grabbing at my appendages. One of the perfectly painted ones approached me asking if I needed "directions"? Turning to stare at her like a deaf goldfish, I turned and bolted toward what I believed was an escape, only to find myself surrounded by blow dryers and curling irons. Realizing I needed a better plan, I employed a tactic similar to what you might use to find your way out of the woods when you are lost. I located an outside wall and was determined to follow it out of this maze.
Suddenly, I ran out of aisle and came face to face with the product I had memorized. (I'm sure this is one of the weirdest prayers I have ever muttered, but truly thankfulness poured off my lips.) Instantly overwhelmed, there were literally five different kinds of this brand of shampoo (this must be what men feel like when you send them for women's sanitary products), I grabbed the first one and resumed my journey to the front.
Arriving at the register, I literally push the bottle toward the cashier. I can see the front doors and therefore am aware that escape is imminent. Thank goodness, I can feel congruent thoughts starting to return. She asks for my phone and e-mail. I decline and she looks confused. Calling her manager for assistance, I stifle a giggle. This field trip has turned into quite a learning expedition. The manager glides in and asks me for the same information. Once again I repeat the, "No thank you." A look of utter confusion slides across her dusted face. She is frozen and speechless. I flash a grin and wink at her. Assuring her that I won't be a "regular" customer, she finally, overrides this "feature" and rings up my purchase. Her face is twisted into a confused expression. I literally can not contain my amusement and an unexpected giggle slips out causing her to stare at me. I don't expect her to understand. I don't expect her to approve. I don't expect her to "get it". Stepping out into the fresh oxygen, I collapse in a heap of giggles in the front seat of my little black thing. Wowzee!!!
It is now many moments later and here I sit with a cocktail of emotions and thoughts swirling around my heart over this expedition. My mind is darting all over, like several squirrels on steroids. These thoughts are colliding and breaking into a million tiny pieces.
The culture I am living in exalts the illusion of man made perfection and conformity in many arenas of our lives. I refuse to drink it in. It calls and beckons to all of us. It tosses hollow promises of happiness and fulfillment in the wind and they drift by, as if carried on some invisible tray at a party that I should be expected to partake of.
If you look "this way" or "do this thing" or "own this stuff" you will have arrived. You will be happy. Society holds these things up as the "Goal". I, personally, have found this all to be an illusion. Could it be that these things are really invisible chains?
This same culture also desperately thirsts for freedom, authenticity, and joy. Why else would you and I pick up and read the magazines by the grocery check out? We want to know truth; hear authenticity; and see happiness. We all know that most of that "stuff" in those magazines aren't true, but we just can't help ourselves. We want REAL! It is obvious that I badly confused that poor cashier today by refusing to be part of their "club".
Today, I took a nibble and today, once again, I walked away thankful to be an authentic alien just passing through on this planet. If you are thirsty for REAL. If you have an unconquerable appetite for joy and contentment, might I suggest that you turn and face your maker. He knows you best and will show you the way out of the maze you are stuck in and the treadmill you are running on.
Until We Chat Again,
The Plank-Eyed Girl
Romans 12:2 (ICB)
Do not be shaped by this world. Instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you.....
Psalms 139:13-15 (MSG)
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother's womb.
I thank you, High God - you're breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!...
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.