The One Thing We Don’t See

June 24, 2008 § 4 Comments

“They should put expiration dates on clothes so we men will know when it goes out of style.”

Garry Shandling (Comedian)

This was a traumatic week for me on so many pathetic and superficial levels. For what seems to have been an eternity my wife, Katherine has attempted to get me to change the style of Levi’s Jeans that I wear. For the record I have worn Levi’s 560, Red Label jeans for years and years. The 560’s are relaxed fit, tapered jeans that sit comfortably on the waist (that’s basically what the big cardboard label on the pants says).

I wear the relaxed fit because the Straight Legs that I used to wear would have to be professionally spray-painted on to my body to have any realistic chance of getting or staying on (Translation: they didn’t fit, starting about 20 years ago).

The 560’s seemed like the natural ‘next step’ for me, a mature, moderately larger man than when in high school (these are the lies we tell ourselves… and believe). They were narrow at the ankles, comfy in strategic zones, such as the hips, and, in my humble (delusional) thinking – very cool.

Now Katherine saw it differently. To her they were, in a word, awkward. Perhaps embarrassing is more accurate. Or maybe humiliating… You get the point. In short, she hated them, but fortunately she loves me, and the jeans loathing never did cross over.

Well this week she finally succeeded in convincing me to get a new style. She, our daughter Erin and I went to the Levis store at an outlet mall – and I made the switch, buying four pair of Levi’s 505, Regular Fit, Straight Leg, Red Label, Jeans. They fit just right – longer at the foot, not tapered, and different to look at. Katherine loves them and our daughters completely approved (Emily saw them this morning), both girls admitting that my 560’s were way too high (as Katherine had been saying for years).

When I told some guys on our Staff about the jeans this morning (along with a detailed description of how Katherine would use her fingers to draw a sort of clown outline in the air to describe how I looked in the 560’s), they laughed and nodded and uttered something under their breaths to the tune of, ‘Rev. High Water finally got new Jeans.’

Suddenly it struck me – Everyone I have known for years has seen and known that my jeans sat too high on my ankles – that you could see too much sock – that they were awkward and embarrassing – yes, even humiliating. Everyone knew that too much shoe showed and that too much leg loomed. Everyone knew that my high tops barely reached the bottoms of my 560’s (those jeans that I thought were ‘very cool’).

Everyone, that is… except for me.

You know, we unfinished ones have the ability to see just about everything on the planet – except for ourselves.

The Apostle Paul says, “…What we are is plain to God” (2 Corinthians 5:11).

Nothing is lost on the Father. In us He sees the good and the bad, the lovely and the hideous, the strong and the weak. He sees what we know and don’t know, and He sees what we need. And fortunately, as with my wife, the embarrassing, awkward and humiliating never cross over into His affection for us in all our imperfection. In fact, amazingly, when He sees us – He takes delight.

Take it from ‘Rev. High Water,’ this is Good News.


§ 4 Responses to The One Thing We Don’t See

  • mcmullen says:

    Great story. Thanks.


  • kate o. says:

    i’ve been trying for years to explain to my parents that “tapered” is code for “balloons your thighs” and that “sits comfortably on the waist” should be followed up with “just under the armpits.” glad you saw the light.

  • Lauren Bauman says:

    I know for me, I have to get to a point where I don’t feel threatened by change – I have to trust the person on the other end (a friend, or God) enough to risk breaking out of my comfort zone (whether it’s a pair of jeans or a spiritual rut). I tend to worry that it won’t work out or that I’ll look like a fool for trying, instead of embracing the chance to grow and see myself through someone else’s eyes.

  • Fred says:

    First, Lauren’s comment on this blows me away.

    Second, it reminds me of what CS Lewis says in “The Trouble with X.” In part, he talks about the “fatal flaw in our character” that we’re blind to, but others see clearly. In this case, it was just your pants. (Which, being a guy, I never really noticed.) Anyway, that’s why we need each other and that’s why He made the church, I suppose.

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