Thursday, June 23, 2011

Loss of Lipstick, Loss of Limb

A couple of weekends back, my friend Tris and I had a fabulous girls' morning out: a luxury pedicure and lunch at one of our favorite restaurants. The outing was a generous gift from the women on our MOPS leadership, and we had a pretty much perfect day. "Baby Love" nail polish on our fingers, vanilla and coffee beans scrubbed into our toes, and then just a little too much lunch followed by chocolate cake.

But then that afternoon, I chipped the "Raspberry" nail polish on my right big toe, a tragic flaw on the first professional pedicure I've had in a year. Then, on the way to my parents' house for dinner, I realized that my pink bag full of MAC lipstick that is always in my purse was not in my purse. Can I say, with shame, that at that moment I felt very strongly that we live in a fallen world in which tragedies are apt to befall us at any moment and nothing on this sad planet is ever perfect. Watching the news makes me know this. Losing my lipstick made me feel it. How embarrassing is that?

I spent 30 minutes on the phone with employees of both the nail salon and the restaurant describing my makeup bag, but to no avail. I calculated the monetary loss of my lipstick collection -- about $80 -- and realized there was no way it was getting replaced in full anytime soon. Driving home that night, I planned this blog, titled "Loss of Lipstick."

But then, I walked in the backdoor, and what should be laying like a chameleon on a dark plank of laminate flooring in my kitchen, but my lipstick bag! Immediate guilt for making the minimum wage workers search for it. And then -- joy! I was suddenly aware of what a blessed woman I am, how rich and fortunate: the owner of $80 worth of high quality lip pigment, a shade for every mood and season!

Weeks have gone by and I feel a sense of profound gratitude every time I put lipstick on, a true happiness at having what once was thought lost and now has been found. I'm trying to make this lesson in gratitude sink in deeper, hopefully transforming me into a person who can be grateful for her possessions, but who clings to them loosely, so she won't be crestfallen when they get lost.

A few days after the lipstick incident, my seven year old Sophia was walking around the back yard, observing the movement of her own limbs. "Mom," she said, "isn't it great that we can just walk without thinking about it? Wouldn't it be hard if we had to tell each body part to move, one at a time?" You should have seen the wonder on her face.

Our pastor gives a sermon each year on gratitude, and he always goes through a list of all the things we take for granted. On the list, the fact that we get out of bed in the morning, and our miraculous body moves without us even having to think about each motion. Sophia got that on her own, and, as children do, reminded me of this profound and simple spiritual truth. We take most good things we have for granted, and often don't realize how great they are until they are lost or threatened. I don't even think about having two good arms until I see someone who's lost a limb. I complain about how my legs look, until I see someone in a wheelchair and remember to be grateful that they get me where I need to go.

In his sermon, my pastor has a saying he always repeats: Grateful people want what they have and don't want any more. I want my lipstick. I want these limbs. And I'm grateful for this little, simple lesson.

1 comment:

  1. Our Pastor spoke last week and he said how fortunate we are in the United States with everything we have compared to 3rd world countries. He said something that really stuck...he mentioned how when you visit these countries and you see people accept Christ they are shouting with joy and excited for their new gift of God's love and the gift of his son, but you come to the US and the gift of Christ isn't quite the same because we all have so many other things and wants that take away from this gift, etc. It was powerful.