I can remember a time in my life when I was convinced that everyone was looking at me. Whether it was an untimely blemish, a stain on my clothing, or my inherited missing teeth, I was positive that as soon as I walked outside the confines of my home, the entire population would notice imperfections in my person or my adornments. Once I passed my teenage years and made my way into adulthood, those "demons" followed me around with more "grown up" taunts. My job, my belongings, my status among my peers became areas of concern where I was sure everyone was looking at me and finding me inferior.
I'd like to say that once I became a parent these "end of the world" dilemmas had gone by the wayside. Not by a long shot. I then had additional dilemmas because of how my children behaved or how talented they were compared with others and how that reflected back on me. Like the time my daughter, having watched me tweeze my eyebrows, decided she was going to be like mommy and used her scissors to cut her eyebrows off. Then, to make an embarrassing situation worse (she was accompanying me to a conference the next day), she finished the portrait by cutting her bangs so short that she looked like a chemotherapy patient who had been given a haircut by a three-year-old. (Come to think of it, she was three at the time!) This time I was certain that everyone was looking at me, judging me as a sub-standard mother!
Well, today I was unknowingly given a test -- one which demonstrated to me that my sanctification is progressing. After a week of being in intense back pain that was not made appreciably better by four visits to the physical therapist, I decided to go see my tried-and-true chiropractor. I not only recounted my aches and pains and how I thought they came about, but in great detail told him of the less than laudable treatment I had suffered at the hands of some physical therapy assistants who had made the matter worse. After listening intently to my woes, pausing to consider all I'd relayed, with utmost care and concern he responded, "I have one question for you. Is there any good reason you are wearing two different shoes?"
I looked down in disbelief. Sure enough, just as he had observed, there I was standing in the treatment room wearing a brown clog on my left foot and a black sandal on my right. Now, he is a good doctor, but I believe the lessening of the pain in my back was at least partially the result of the wonderful chemicals that must have emanated throughout my body as a result of my hysterical laughter. Think of all the places I'd travelled parading this new fashion statement, as he called it, prior to coming to his office!
The best part about this episode is that after I left his office, I made my bank deposit, and went to the grocery store, not the least bit concerned that everyone was looking at me. Not even one little bit! I'm amazed that it has taken me this long to fully recognize that most people are never devoting much of their time looking at me anyhow; and if even if they are…it's certainly not the end of the world! Some benefits have accompanied all the gray hairs I've accrued over the years of being a wife, mother, and homeschool teacher. Among them, a realistic sense of my place in the world, not to mention a better sense of humor!
- Andrea G. Schwartz
Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven Family, The Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your Household, Empowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom Service, Woman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, and Homeschooling Helps (weekly live Facebook event). She can be reached at [email protected].