Monday, January 17, 2011

When Judgemental Thoughts Attack

The Divine Liturgy on Sunday morning. I'm happy that I have earrings on and dress shoes with a 1-inch heel. Usually we run out of the house before I even get mascara on. I had a well-stocked diaper bag. The little kids are pretty well-behaved. It was a good day. Greeting some out-of-town visitors (2 adult sisters and a little two-year old girl) after Mass, my eyes were met by these on both sisters along with skinny jeans and crop tops:
The mind is either unceasingly thinking or unceasingly praying; it has to be one or the other. My mind was just thinking this:

arrgh...I thought I would get through Sunday without any confessional material...how can she run after her daughter in heels like those....and us 'conservative types' are quibbling over sleeve lengths...I was proud of myself for not wearing clogs to church...are her heels more feminine than my one-inch wedges?....this is so superficial for me to even think about this...at least I got mascara on my albino lashes, but I certainly don't have a full-makeup face like them....what would Simcha say?.....gotta pray, gotta pray....what are my big girls thinking- and have they noticed? Will they rebel when they are older with the standards I have set for them?....how can I even consider covering my head when it isn't our tradition (except for widows) and spike heels and skinny jeans are considered "elegant" by ethnic-types...I wish I were that skinny; do they ever eat?...and us 'conservative types' are quibbling over skirts or pants (I vote skirt-below-knee-for-Mass)....I wish that my girls didn't have to look so old-fashioned compared to the rest of the world in order to be modest....this is not charitable to be judgmental...I am not better than they....
...they are daughters of God as much as my girls and I are....

16 comments:

  1. I'm not too fussed about what my 8 daughters dress like..they all go to Mass & as teenagers..6 of them..that's what counts to me..just my 2 cents..

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  2. I wish I could say I haven't been there... but then I'd have some serious confessional material!

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  3. Jackie- My girls are 11 and 10- so they still under my influence. In the future- who knows?

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  4. Love this post. You think too much. It doesn't matter who's around them, not living with them, that is the key. They see the other world, yet they are living beyond that. The world of high heels and crop tops would have a very different "feeling" to live in and remember "train a child in the way he should go and he will never depart from it". Proverbs I think.

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  5. I've noticed that "style" in some ethnic parishes, too...ditto on sometimes having confessional material.
    I occasionally wear clogs to Divine Liturgy...but never mascara...Burt's Bees on my lips is as far as I go...& definitely below the knee skirts. :o)

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  6. below the knee skirts are my chosen m.o. for skirts so i think i'm covered there. :) (no pun intended.) frequently, i'm trying to get my 21 month old dressed, me dressed, and us out of the house so i've been known to go in jeans (and a nice shirt and nice shoes -- i have a LONG choir robe), nice slacks, and generally whatever i can find. i believe in dressing UP for church.

    being 30, however, crop tops and skinny jeans don't quite work for me even outside of church. i still have all the extra skin and weight from the 21 month old and believe me... my belly button is a scary thing to see.

    totally would do the head covering thing if it was required of me though.

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  7. I see the women like that and I feel inferior because I still don't have it together. Then an older lady will make a snide comment to me about having time to do my make-up and I realize they're thinking the same things about me.

    Me? Really? The one with the pants that are hemmed with safety pins in the car because I didn't do the laundry in time so those were my best option? The one who does her make-up in 5 minutes in the car and chooses shoes based on which set I can find in matching pairs in under 30 seconds? The one whose nails have 6-month old nail polish on them? The one whose hair is always in a ponytail? They notice the heels and make-up and judge me. I notice the new and coordinated shoes and purse and earrings and judge them.

    Why do we women do this to ourselves? I will keep you in prayer. Will you please do the same for me?

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  8. Catherine- Oh yes- pray for me- even though I didn't approve of the spike heels- they definitely wore them 'on purpose' which is more than I can say about myself most of the time

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  9. Preoteasa,

    this would seem to more of cultural mismatch. Anglo-Celtic culture seems to be a bit more conservative and less stylish when it comes to public ceremony and going to church. It is telling that people have commented on "ethnic" character, which is little more than a difference in cultural priorities.

    When I have gone to Mass or Church in other countries people are much more stylishly dressed than in the USA and other English speaking countries.

    An extreme example is Latin Mass congregations in France and English speaking countries. In France, they were dressed conservatively, modestly and elegantly; whereas in English speaking countries the only word is "dowdy", and the women talk as though there is much virtue in it - despite the advice of St Francis de Sales on these matters.

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  10. Johnson- I like clogs, too- but as Bear says- let's try to be stylish and modest- a tall order! :)

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  11. I find clogs to be both comfy (for flat feet like me) & stylish, in a funky boho kind of way. Heels on me are a twisted ankle just waiting to happen (happens in clogs, too, when one is clutz-prone like moi). ;o)

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  12. I find myself judging women in Sport Teams apparel. Why do you have to wear Packers jerseys to church? But then I realize they are clean and nice jerseys, at least...

    When my brother was a teenager and going through a particularly rebellious phase, a lady at our church criticized his clothing choices to my mother. My mother's answer? "At least he's AT church!" I remind myself of that answer every time I begin judging. At least we/they/I are at church!

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  13. Hmm, I'll confess that I don't dwell often on clothing during Mass. I do admire the stylish older ladies who look so put together, but that's about it. But then again, I may be one of the people you're talking about. My idea of dressing up for Mass is a nice pair of jeans, a blouse or sweater, and high heels or boots.

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  14. not a minx- I doubt that you could be mistaken for a streetwalker! High heels don't equal judgmental thoughts in me- it was the whole combo- and that their feet were hurting them so much that I had to run after the 2 year old who was running off (like 2 year old tend to do)...but the point of my post is that I shouldn't be judgmental! :)

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  15. our parish is a lot like this. you should see how the elderly women dress! modestly, of course, but in really beautiful business-like attire! my friend is 90+ years old and wears heals to church! and is fit and trim!
    it is an odd and funny thing to feel frumpy around a 90 year old woman, but more power to her. :-)

    sarah

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