Thou shalt be sexy…until…!

Truthfully, having just been exited from young adult culture I am recognizing how youth brings a certain amount of sexiness to it.  Seemingly, the new commandment is “thou shalt be sexy!”  We have become narcissistic as a society.  We invest much on our exterior shells; clothes, glasses, shoes, socks, arched eyebrows, manicured nails, facials, scents and extensive time in the gym to maximize our fashion potential.  We then turn around and pay photographers to enhance what we’ve done.  Thou shalt be sexy!  It’s almost as if Home Depot is no longer the “Do it Yourself” King.  You can now do Hollywood makeovers and look just like a celebrity ready to go on camera only coming back from a local from a quick trip to the beuty salon or a designer barber.  It’s fascinating what we can do to ourselves.  We’ve even mastered all sorts of natural looks like the casual look, the ruffled look, the hanging-out look.  It’s all fashion.  It’s all sexy, to someone at least.

Some in the religious community have taken to this as well.  I regretably admit I’ve been drawn into this cultural craze of looking great, even though I don’t quite meet the mark most times.  Even my vocation have caught on to stylish and model-like poses in the robes we dawn, the stoles we wear, or the suits we display.  Somehow, it seems that there is a way to make anything sexy; cars, houses, landscapes and even kitchens.  Well, there is one place where sexiness seems to fade from the scene.  The hospital.

This is why trips to the hospital are always experiences of culture shock for me.  It’s almost as if I’ve drifted into an entirely different world, very different from the one outside its frequently opening and closing sliding doors  There is very seldom anything sexy about the hospital.  If you go during the day, you will see an array of people who wear huge shoes to support their frail bodies.  You see hands with fingers twisted in any direction but straight.  You see people who can’t stand up straight and walk humped over.  You see hips twisted on one side and slanted on the other.  You see women with thinning hair, if any at all, on the top of their heads.  You see men wearing thick plastic glasses, barely able to walk trying to navigate their way from one side of the room to the other, masking shame and embarrassment with a unconvincing grin.  You hear weak voices ask where the doctor’s office is.  You see the circle of life, as middle aged children now take on the role of getting their sources of life to radiation treatments and check ups.

You don’t smell perfume, you don’t see heels, you don’t see fine suites.  You don’t see elaborate hairstyles, unless they are worn by the medical staff.   You don’t see sexiness at all.  You see life, refusing to give up yet.  You see deterioration and sometimes you see frailty being held back just a bit by the will that remains.

Today, I walked my own grandmother through those halls in the hospital as she herself wore socks with traction stripes on them, colored in a bright turqoise, tucked in shoes fitting for an older woman; a suite that was slightly too big and underneath that suit were garments to support possible incontinense.  Her hair was braided, being so soft.  Her hands were half the size they once were.  Without my assistance,  her walk was staggered and challenging.  Her cool points were non existent when she waved to people she thought she knew while they looked puzzled from her energetic greeting or when she sat by someone who was on their cell phone and she thought they were talking to her the entire time or when she cried asking me not to leave her again while I fetched the car.  Nothing about that was sexy.

I sat in that hospital, (while my grandmother caught her breath from walking a few steps), in a sea of old people.  People that I, God willing, will one day join with my own oversized tennis shoes, walking assistance and a suit that is a bit too big or that light blue matching-pants and shirt-set as I am being trailed around, hopefully, by someone who cares enough for me not to abandon me or treat me with cruel impatience.

None of these people were sexy.  None of them cared about impressing anyone.  Instead, they were just grateful to breath the air that surrounded them and be above the ground that upheld them.

May God grant us grace to accept the days when sexiness declines and real meaningful pieces of life emerge, like a faith that will not shrink, a hope that is authentic and a love that is real, meaningful and grounded in the God of our weary years.  These are the days when vuluptous hips, a washboard torso and an incredible array of jewelry and exquisite fashions will not be of much help.  Contrary to current days of youth, those will be the days when you won’t need sexiness to get through but things like best friends, faithful children, maybe a kind soul somewhere and a generous community or family.

None of those I saw in the hospital corridors were sexy. In fact, they were something greater. They were something far more real, far more concrete and far more lasting.

They, including my grandmother were all simply beautiful.


~ by bkevinsmalls on October 9, 2013.

One Response to “Thou shalt be sexy…until…!”

  1. Great post, Rev!

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