I have everything covered – prayers ✔, music ✔, handouts ✔. All I can think is, what an honor to be leading a group of my peers for a “Day of Reflection”. I am almost ready to ✔ off the wardrobe box as I reach for the classic button-down oxford shirt. This shirt would most certainly lend me the confidence needed to stand before the gathering of women.
It is a simple white blouse. A timeless classic, that had not been worn in years. Only a special occasion will get me out of comfy yoga pants and oversized sweatshirts. This morning, I am reunited with a hidden gem hanging in the far corner of my closet. I welcome the forgotten blouse with the “prodigal son returning to me” sort of excitement.
Although I have no concern about the agenda or reflection itself, I am troubled by my own appearance. Most people attending the retreat know nothing about me and are unaware of my illness. My not-so-hidden vulnerabilities are exposed due to the imposing symptoms of my condition.
As I slip the shirt over my arms, I say a little prayer,
“Lord – let my legs carry me there, let me mouth speak words of wisdom, let my heart be light and let my hands….” I stop mid prayer!
Out of my mouth flies a few explicit swearwords because of my real struggle getting dressed. My hands and fingers have lost the fine motor skills necessary to grasp the tiny buttons on my blouse. I lack the dexterity to fasten them through the buttonhole. I stand there half clothed – looking down at my hands in utter disbelief.
A somewhat new weakness with my Multiple Sclerosis is happening to my hands. I have been quietly adjusting by eating left-handed, using only cross body bags, picking up objects with both hands and writing with easy flowing markers. But, the inability to dress myself this morning – was a crushing blow to the resilient woman reflecting back at me in the mirror.
With nothing else to do, I yell out for Ken. He enters the bathroom a little confused at my cry for help and quickly assesses the current situation. I feel ashamed as I hold out my now trembling hands. He moves close and begins buttoning the front of my blouse. His strength and lack of concern warms my heart. He continues to talk about anything other then what is before him. I actually laugh a little watching his big fingers handling the delicate buttons. In that moment we are taken to another level of intimacy. Ken moves even closer to kiss my tear stained cheek and gently whispers in my ear, “Hey, remember young Ken – who couldn’t wait to unbutton your blouse?”
for the gift of laughter,
for His grace to endure todays struggle,
and oh yeah,
for yoga pants and oversized sweatshirts!