The Support I Need, In Underwear and Otherwise
My friend Brittany recently invited me to a Facebook group wherein people can share their organizing and decorating hacks . Yesterday it inspired me to re-Tidy Up my underwear drawer, which had descended into chaos just nine months after my Netflix-show inspired cleaning binge. (See last year's blog "Marie Kondo is Wrecking My Life."for details). I told Brittany about it, and that I had just bought ten news pairs of pretty underwear on sale this weekend, so the time was ripe.
This prompted Brittany to say she was getting too attached to her granny undies, and then my subsequent confession that I have a separate, messy drawer for the granny undies. They don't get folded in thirds and displayed in the top drawer by the window like the ones that come home in a fancy pink and black bag. They have a deep, dark, bottom row drawer in a separate dresser.
This made me feel kind of sad for my granny undies, and then, to ponder deeply their origin story in my life.
Several years ago, Hanes ran a TV ad campaign for wedgie-free underwear. As a full-bottomed woman who likes to wear dresses, I was very excited that Hanes had come up with this revolutionary technology. I went straight to Target and bought a pack, the kind that come rolled in plastic with "one bonus pair free" in red bubble letters printed on it. It turned out that there was no cutting-edge science involved. They were just giant cotton underwear. I love them. I have bought many, many packs in both neutral and rainbow colors over the years and I wear them every time I wear a skirt or a dress. They are the breathable cotton support I never knew I needed.
And yet, I treat them like the underwear I don't actually wear, or don't actually need. Because they aren't pretty, and even folded in thirds they don't fit in the skinny top drawer, and I'm kind of embarrassed about them.
Here comes the life application.
We all need all different kinds of support in our lives, some unique to the ways we are made, and some universal to all humans.
Some of us need roomy underwear, allergy medication, anti-depressants, gluten-free bread, trauma therapy, dandruff shampoo, specialty shoes for more arch support, occupational therapy, physical therapy, AA meetings, clinical strength deodorant, or math tutors. And so what if we do?
All of us need physical touch, a shoulder to cry on when we need to cry ugly, a break now and then, sunlight, sleep, accountability from the people who love us, and God's grace.
Both the specific and universal things we need belong in the top drawer, where the sunlight can hit them. They aren't something to be ashamed of. They should be accepted realities, realities that are okay to share. We don't like them, because they point to the fact that we are not all-powerful and invincible and need help. But we all need help. Last week, I asked my friend Kelly if both my kids end up in therapy, will that mean I'm a good mom for modeling that it's okay to go to therapy, or a bad mom because both my kids need therapy.
Kelly said, "Amanda, everyone needs therapy." True that.
I would also like to assert, Jesus lover that I am, that everyone needs faith, hope and love. And grace. Lots of grace.
Last night in our couple's Bible study, one of our friends shared that she majored in anthropology in college. She said, from her perspective, that anthropology painted all religion as a crutch, something each culture invents to help people get by, but that religion is never true.
What I would like to say in response is, what's wrong with crutches? When you're broken, when you're hurting, crutches are something to be very, very grateful for. My faith in God is absolutely a crutch, something that keeps me standing and hoping and walking forward when I become completely overwhelmed with my ability to make this world right. Not the state of my heart nor the state of my dinner table nor the state of this country can be made right by me. I need, depend on, am desperate for both grace -- the total favor, forgiveness and love of me despite all the ways I fall short -- and hope -- that God will ultimately fix it all, redeem it all, bring goodness to all things.
Grace is the crutch none of us want to need. Too bad, my sisters. We need it every day. The good news is, it never runs out. So let's get a little more comfortable letting people know we need grace, and all the manifestations of grace available to us: prayer and friendship, therapy and good medication (opioids and alcohol aren't on that this, sorry), Sabbath rest, sleep, and supportive shoes and underwear. Keep them in the top drawer, in the light.