old habits die hard

This weekend, I made one of my extremely rare visits to church. I don’t want to explain why I left the Baptist church to be a part of the church of John Walton. I went on Sunday because the house was hot, the church was cool and I wanted to peek in on Evan in the toddler room to see how he was interacting with his peers. Sitting in the extremely cool sanctuary, I did what I always do. I watched the other people in the room. I immediately realized that almost all of the women under the age of 50 had bare legs. A decade ago, I would never have dared enter a church without hose. Now, I don’t own a single stocking. Is that just a southern thing? While surveying the footwear choices in the room, I found myself hypnotized by a woman sitting on an aisle seat. She had kicked off her shoe and was playing with it. With her TOES. Her bare foot would push the shoe out into the aisle. Then she took her toes and rolled the shoe from side to side. When it was too far away, she would pick the shoe up with her toes and drag it closer so she could start all over again. The behavior was odd and to me, completely inappropriate in that particular setting. Nothing that anyone else was doing seemed to bother me. A woman wrapped in her husband’s suit coat was slumped over, sleeping. Teenagers in jeans and flip-flops were texting each other. A small child ate candy and climbed all over her mother like monkey bars while the mother sat stoically. Everything seemed normal except for the woman using her bare foot to play with her shoe in the aisle. Roll, roll, drag. Over and over again her toes wiggled and grabbed the shoe. I recently accepted that I have some sort of prejudice against northerners. I consistently misjudge their body language and intonation. Apparently, I still have some freaky hangups about church behaviors. Playing with your bare feet during the sermon is worse than any made up crime like wearing white after Labor Day. If her feet had remained in the shoes, I wouldn’t have given her a second glance. I know how to work through my northerner prejudices, but I have no idea how to get past my bare toes in the aisle during service problems. Maybe I need to visit a barefoot church.

2 thoughts on “old habits die hard

  1. I had to overcome my horror when I saw a girl come to church with wet hair and wearing pajama pants. I was 24 then. I’d imagine this will get worse as I get into my 30s. A lack of pantyhose doesn’t bother me (whew, it’s so much more comfortable!) but WET HAIR and PAJAMA PANTS? (And this chick’s feet/shoe gymnastics?)

    I guess I still like to see people exhibit respect for their surroundings. However, I also don’t believe God judges us by what we choose to wear. He knows what’s in our hearts. So I need to learn to chill, huh?

  2. What is deemed to be appropriate attire for a visit to God’s house has really relaxed since I was a child too. Bare shoulders? Egads!

    I try to dress my kids up in their “sunday best” despite what their peers do. To me, it’s a show of respect. Yes, I do agree that God probably doesn’t care, but if you aren’t allowed to go to work like that, why should you get to wear that stuff to a house of worship? Plain disrespectful I say! (and I’m a TN transplant born and raised in MI)

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