{beauty pontificated}

 collective breaths measured
blistered particles of now
damaged by our necessities
clouded by our ridiculous comparisons
perfect the art of masking imperfections
stare at labels and covet them more
suck in & cover up
our race to the top is foot traffic over others 

I write this in medley format.  And, I fear I may have stumbled upon another session of the paragraph.  And, I so promised not to make a habit of that here.  But alas, the tightness in my chest, moreover my spirit, engages me to visually formulate these words in a wall of protection from those choosing to read and even more so from the notion that I am choosing to speak them.

Humans have goodness.  I seek it out all the time.  I yearn to find the tiny hope or the smidgeon of a smile in people.  I even look for it in myself.  Yet, in a world filled with evil deeds, one-upping and slanderous talk, I am taken back. Whisked back to my junior high years when fitting in was imperative for success.  And, simply put, I was a failure.  I ate in the cafeteria when all the girls that were the definition of cool did not.  I didn't wear a bra until 9th grade (as there truly was no need).  You can imagine the ridicule received from this during change times in the locker room after basketball practice.  I was always one step behind the synthetic leather, tiny square triangle, excessively long single strap carrying Liz Claiborne handbag girls in my class.  When the caramel colored leather jacket was the one, I wore the sand colored.

And, girls can hurt with words.  Boys too for that matter.  It makes me wonder who might have been my victim of ridicule as some form of therapeutic way of making someone feel they way I did.  For those individuals out there, I want to apologize. My apologies cannot compensate for the hurt caused, I know. But my cognizance of the damage I might have inflicted hopefully will be something worth recognizing.

I linger on the sidelines of the world and all it has to offer my boys.  Each Saturday, they play in their community basketball league games.  I watch Eli and Casey interact and become a part of a larger collective.  I peek in at their ignitions of friendships and their afterthoughts on interactions with these new people their size in their lives.  It is interesting to note the stark difference in environments between the 2 boys' age brackets.  Casey's game is directional yet light hearted.  It is full of energy and collective excitement when the ball goes through the hoop.  There are high fives and helping outs too.  Eli is the next bracket up.  Shoulders are more puffed out to establish presence, socks have to be cool.  Shoes too.  Emulations of SWAG are on the scene.  After a bucket, there is less elation and more jaws pulsing and eyes squinting.  The heavy blanket of competition and keeping up has covered this age group.  And the parents too.  Many are hot-n-heavy and hard pressed as secret coaches from the sidelines across from the game bench.  There is discontent when their child falls short.  Not all parents, but some.

And there I sit.  Watching as my children find their way in & amongst this measuring up.  I see their innocence and so longingly want to preserve it.  Yet, I know that this measuring stick is inevitable to shield them from.

Competition is a sword in which we all live and die by.

I want to teach giving your all; I want to exalt excellence; I want to preach practicing and finding your strengths; I want to praise respect for others.

And, I want to do this all where my boys get it.  They get that we all have a goodness inside.  That confidence in who you are and just exactly who God made you to be is enough.  Enough to eat lunch in middle school if you want.  Enough to not wear a bra and it be just okay. Even better to rise above the divisional lines of cool and see the hope and heart of everyone around you.  Not just the plastic Liz Claiborne triangles. {No, boys, you will never wear a bra or carry a Liz Claiborne purse, but stick with mama here for the connection.}

collective breaths measured
seek the good
sidle with insecurities
remind ourselves of the value of respect
rise above the clouded
remind ourselves & others that you are cool enough
God's measuring stick is love.
Share it, boys.
Live in confidence and shine on for others to see.
There is beauty in us all.

I'm gonna do the same,

{p.s. A special thank you to the $5.00 bouquet in my kitchen that visually encouraged me to write this post.}