Nothing really clicked while all of this was happening the other evening. I just kept feeling bad. Bad that the meal wasn't cooked thoroughly. Bad that I was late to my meeting. Bad that I was late to church. Bad that my fingers hurt something fierce! Ha. But as I sit here and type it out, I can't help but see that if I had just listened to those voices in my head, to give up because I was late, then I wouldn't have gone to dinner in the café and ran into Kurt. I was disheveled, with too many things in my hands and a baby on my hip, but a few people let me cut in line so I could go over and say hi to him. He's older now, and I didn't really expect him to remember me. But to my surprise, he did. He didn't remember my name, but he remembered me. We chatted a bit about what we've been up to for the past 12 years, and then we parted ways to eat dinner. I've been thinking about it ever since, and I KNOW it was not by coincidence that we were both getting dinner at the same time that night.
Kurt was the trainer at my high school. All the athletes in school knew him. Whether he treated them for a sprained ankle, or provided water bottles for their team, he and his training room was there. It was like a staple on campus. I sprained my ankle pretty bad in volleyball when I was a junior, so I spent a LOT of time in his room, icing. I loved going into the training room and look at all the plaques, pictures, and newspaper articles that lined his walls. He had been the trainer at my high school for years. Like I said, everyone knew him, and his walls proved that. He was a smart man, who didn't mince words. I'm not sure if everyone liked him, but they respected him. He demanded that. He had his own 10 commandments of sorts, only it was more like 15-20, because if you give teenagers an inch, they love to think they can take a mile. When you were in his training room, or if you needed water bottles, or a bag of ice, you had to use proper English. May I, not Can I. Because if you asked Kurt, Can I....? He would respond with, I don't know, CAN you? He would ask you to leave if you cussed. In fact, if he heard you cussing outside his training room, it was not uncommon to be doused with a pitcher full of ice. Students had to behave kindly, and with manners. And, they did, mostly.
I'm not sure how he came to know me and remember me, because there were hundreds of kids on campus that walked into his training room each day. But he did. One day, I was icing in the training room at lunch. I think I was a sophomore. I was so impressionable in high school, and placed my worth and identity in being liked by other people, and hanging out with the cool crowd. I was involved in ASB, knew a lot of people, and I was dating a senior. I was cool. I looked like just another high school kid on the outside, but on the inside, I was incredibly insecure. I sat in Kurt's office and iced my foot. Since it was lunch time, there weren't a lot of kids in there. I gathered my things to leave, and went to dump my bucket of ice-water into the sink. I was wearing a cute, low cut pink top, and a jean squort (I know, SO COOL RIGHT?! LOL), similar to ones that lots of girls wore, but looking back, was too short. Kurt asked me to come sit in the chair next to his desk. I sat down. I remember feeling nervous, because I had no idea what he was going to say, and he was intimidating! I can't remember his exact words, but they took on a paternal tone as he told me that the outfit I was wearing might cause others to have a certain perception of me, and it wasn't a good one. His words were gentle, and I did not feel like I was being criticized, but rather, I felt protected and cared for and loved. He knew who I was, and not just me as a person, but my heart. He didn't want others to think badly of me because I chose to wear things that were much to revealing. Though he didn't say it outright, he wanted me to know that I was WORTHY of so much more. That I was LOVED and ADORED, and what I was wearing was attracting people who would probably not treat me like that.
I cringe a little when I think about who I was as a high schooler. Crazy as it may sound, I really don't remember ever being told why modesty was important, besides that its what the Bible says, and you have to follow the Bible! Besides, when they preached it at church, I felt that it was more of a blanket statement, meant for everyone. Like it was something they had to tell us. It was just another rule, and I was good at following rules, but also at bending them based on what my friends were doing. I don't remember having talks with my parents about why I shouldn't wear certain things, I just remember being told that I needed to change my clothes from time to time because my outfit was unacceptable. And being mad because they just didn't GET it. I have struggled, and still do from time to time, with my identity. I have put it in far too many things and people that are bound to let me down. That tell me You are not worthy. Which is a lie. Jesus tells me over and over that I am worthy. Just as I am. Even after all the terrible things I've done or thought or wore, I am worth dying for.
Do you have a daughter? If so, can I challenge you? Find the words to gently tell her that she is worthy of love. That popularity, clothes, boyfriends, how well she does in school, her weight.. (fill in the blank, because really, anything can fit).. all of that could come crashing down. She could fail in EVERY SINGLE arena of her life, and she would STILL be worthy of love. And if she rolls her eyes at you and says, Moooooom, or Daaaaaad.... tell her again. And again. Find different ways of telling her that. Every girl deserves to have one person in her life that tells her that. Saying the things that Kurt said to me took courage. He had no idea what was going on in my life, what I had been through, or if I believed in God or not. He just felt the need to tell me that. And its something I have tucked away in my heart for a long time, and I will NEVER forget it. I promise that even if she acts like she doesn't care about what you said, or if she immediately zones back out on her phone, she will remember it. It may take her a long time to finally start believing the truth, but how amazing will it be for her when she begins to live that out? It is a gift. A gift that cost you nothing but some courage, and will be treasured forever.