“What is it you want to change? Your hair, your face, your body? Why? For God is in love with all those things and he might weep when they are gone.” -Saint Catherine of Sienna
She skipped toward the storefront spilling over with excitement. It was her 7th birthday, and she was playing hooky with me at the mall, an infrequent occasion thanks to the convenience of online shopping. As easy as clicking is, though, few things were ever better for me as a young girl than a day trip to the mall with my mother, and by the looks of things, my daughter felt similarly.
The bright a-line tulle dress highlighted in the window display enamored her so much she began to bounce. As she opened the door to enter the store, she momentarily lost her breath in the thrill of seeing in real life and touching with her own hands the look and creativity of all of the clothes laid out before her.
I tried, really, I did, to distract her from noticing the bubble gum pink faux fur jumper that looked to me like a Carebear costume. Nonetheless, not only did it call out to her with the soft purrs of tacky enchantment, she also made quite the case as to why it was an absolutely necessary purchase.
First, and indicating a keen awareness of her audience, she began to convince me that the fur would make her feel most like the girl God is calling her to be.
She continued her strategic pitch by listing the dozens of places to which it would be the perfect attire. Then she informed me that it was the last one in her size, on such a good sale, so very soft, just the right shade of her most favorite color, and it goes so perfectly with her tiara headband!
Do you know how hard it is for a mom to say no to a little girl, even when she is asking for what would probably earn my vote for the tackiest dress of all time, when she so skillfully uses the very same tactics she has learned directly, and seemingly a bit too well, from me? We tried it on.
I watched her twirl with glee in front of the mirror. Around and around, giggling more with each spin, wholly happy, wearing what she had picked out for herself. As she spun, I noticed, in a way that felt new, every bit of her beauty, every angle of her majesty. There was a special glimmer in her eyes that day. Her hair moved gracefully along her shoulders, her lips the perfect frame for such a dazzling smile, and her freckles seemed to dance happily across her round cheeks.
The vision of my own daughter, spinning in the middle of the mall, wearing with astute confidence a highly flammable pink fuzzy fur dress, quite literally took my breath away.
The thing is, I think, is that I noticed her because she noticed herself. In her own pursuit of picking just the right dress, within the joyful collaboration of her sense of style and understanding of what she likes and who she is, she was able to see herself clearly, and delight in it. She delighted the way I hope God might, the way that we all can, if we pause a moment to twirl, and remember how wonderfully we are made.
How many things there are in this world that seek to threaten the image my daughter saw in the mirror that day.
How easily gazing at our image and likeness can morph into glaring at our faults when we do not delight in who we are. How much I hope that my daughter will cling tightly to the assurance that who she is will always be true, good, and beautiful. There are few things more wonderful than to witness someone we love recognize the beauty of their own image, that with the proper focus can reflect to us the marvels of our maker so as to know, once and for all, how worthy we are of love, and maybe even, buying pink fur.