Monday, September 20, 2010
“Good morning, gorgeous lady!” I hear as footsteps roll quickly down the stairs. Boss, a nicknamed Iranian member at the health club, greets me in his booming voice before 6 a.m. I’m startled awake as I read dreamily in another non-fiction theologically charged book. You know all too well that I’m no romance reader. A good thinking book gets me going in the “wee small hours of the morning.” C.S. Lewis, A.W. Tozer and John Bevere have been known to sit at this front desk, but this particular book is noteworthy for other reasons.
“When Jesus Came to Harvard,” discusses a non-theological class on Jesus’ teachings. Harvard implemented a department of moral reasoning after many alumni were caught in unethical scandals. To wash some of the dirt of is face, Harvard covered its booty. One of their professors of theology, Harvey Cox, began the course in the 80s with a small group of students in the back of a dilapidated armory. After years of teaching, the class became so wildly popular that it was moved to the campus’s main auditorium that typically hosted rock concerts. I give it rave reviews when club members ask about what I’m reading. My hope isn’t that they will ask me questions about it. Instead, I want them to pick this one up.
Back to Boss. I find myself happy, yet overwhelmed, whenever he swipe in. Boss has a way of greeting me with flattery and charm that seems kind. He leaves to the dressing room and returns minutes later to lavish more gushiness on me. “You are a beautiful lady,” he says, looking to the other members in the foyer waiting for the elevators. “You are the most beautiful girl,” he continues on until it becomes sickening. I make an unspoken prayer that the elevator arrives more quickly. Then he does something downright embarrassing. He looks to a regular and ropes him into the compliment-fest. “Isn’t she beautiful?” The member is shy, and seems off put by a required response. However, he kindly obliges and answers Boss’s pestering. “Yes, very.” He offered too much. Now, I’m blushing, even more than the makeup I put on at 3:45 a.m.
The moment the doors close I exhale. At that same time, I examine the interaction. Mind you, this isn’t sexual harassment. Boss is just a middle aged man who likes to make me blush. He’s never soliciting or asking for any personal information. He’s only giving out free ego-boosters, one line at a time. There is no detriment in taking them, is there?
Just as I thought this, a few phrases filled my mind. “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Show me you love me”? Under this adage, Boss’s words are harmless and meaningless. I could even go as far to say worthless. Sure, he’s paying a compliment, but why do I need an inflated ego? Especially if it’s guaranteed that I won’t be like this forever. If beauty is fleeting, I need to take a good look in the mirror. Let’s face it. someday my hair will turn a soft white mixed with a paler red color much like what’s left of my father’s hair, I anticipate. My skin will sag, my body will ache. My thin frame will make room between my bones and my skin for more weight. And my toenails will inevitably turn yellow, like my grandmother’s. I will get old, and so will you.
My body will fail me, but my anxieties about dying are squelched as the proverb is finished with a promise. “A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” No reassurance for you boys, but I’m sure it can be used for you as well. Lucky for me, I’m working this whole faith thing out with fear and trembling already. I will continue to fear the Lord, adding an speechless beauty to my life. As I continue to grow deeper, I must take Boss’s charm with a grain of salt. Otherwise, I may look in the mirror one day and say, “Getting old wasn’t supposed to happen to me.” I smile at him again as he leaves a trail of thick expensive cologne, chirping, “Goodbye gorgeous girl, have a great day.” I will Boss. See you tomorrow.