Why, might you ask, am I making you look at a picture of a bunch of guys on a beach exposing their pasty white thighs and their unfortunate lack of clothing sensibility?
If you look closely, you might recognize someone. Or maybe you won’t. He certainly doesn’t look like he used to (well, except for the thighs, those look about the same).
If you know the Haggards then you certainly know the someone I am referring to in this photo. And no, it’s not the guy with the red afro.
Alright, I’ll tell you. That head-shaven, weird facial hair-wearing, white supremacist looking guy the second to the left? That’s my husband. He’s the one that’s at least ten years older than all the guys in this photo and yet still wearing women’s magenta running shorts. I know, it’s very confusing.
Granted this was on a beach in Italy and many things are fair game in Europe that aren’t here, especially when it comes to clothing (or lack thereof). And, it was also a Young Life function and everybody knows that when you’re a part of that organization it’s a rite of passage to make a fool of yourself.
Excuses aside, you are probably still wondering the point of all of this. It’s not to make fun of Jason (well, mostly not to make fun 🙂 ). Obviously he didn’t care then what he looked like or how he was perceived and I don’t think he cares now. But I guess that’s the point of what I’m trying to say. My husband doesn’t care about appearances.
That’s why on one of our first dates he showed up in a bucket hat, mock turtleneck (let’s all admit right now those are NEVER making a comeback), a fleece he got out of a lost & found, and black and neon yellow striped sneakers (sneakers unfortunately not pictured).
I, on the other hand, have a long, strained, arduous relationship with appearances. I have loved to keep them up. I have loved to look good, far more than I should. I have loved to intimidate people by making them think, at least on the outside looking in, that I have it all together.
Although I knew that God was digging this out of my heart before I met Jason, marrying him pretty much cemented it in stone. Hence, the magenta shorts. And the weird dancing thing he does sometimes when he’s worshipping at church. Or the loud off-key singing. Or the long, drawn out stories he tells in social settings that have no point and don’t seem to go anywhere. You’re getting the drift.
At the beginning of our relationship, at least in my mind, these things were not harmless idiosyncracies. They were a threat to my personal appearance. And so I chastised him and tried to get him to stop being so much of himself. I know that’s wrong, but that’s the honest truth.
Well, we’re almost two years into marriage and I am happy to say that’s changing. This was obvious to me to me a few weeks ago when I went on a bike ride at my mom’s house. I didn’t have my normal gear so I had to make do with what she had.
What that looked like was this: me riding an old lady bike–you know the ones with the high handlebars and the really big padded seats (sorry Mom, but it’s true). My attire included those diaper-ish spandex bike shorts, gaudy sunglasses and a black leather fanny pack. There I was riding down a country road, big trucks passing me, and the bike making a squeaking noise with every full turn of the pedals.
(At this point you are probably hoping for a photo of me, all decked out. I am not lying when I say I just didn’t think to take one. I promise I would’ve shown you if I had.)
I’ll be honest, I did feel a little sheepish pulling out of her driveway, but pretty soon I stopped caring and I actually enjoyed myself!
Jason has taught me that loving people and enjoying life is far more important than appearances. He wore those short shorts because in some strange way that was loving a bunch of teenage guys. And heck, he was in Italy and of course you have to bring stories for the folks back home (even if they don’t have a point to them).
All this to say I love Jason for his pasty white thighs and his choice in women’s fashion. But more than that I love that God is working on my heart through my husband, just the way he is.
P.S. I apologize to you young men who are included in the photo. I don’t know who you are, but by now you are probably much older and wiser and desperately seeking to forget those shorts.