Yesterday, as I was walking down a public corridor, I began to feel my jeans slide south and my shirt release upwards. I would like to think that this was caused from losing a healthy amount of weight by eating better and exercising more regularly, but I knew the real reason for it, and it was a reality which seemed to plague my very existence … distortion.
Oh, there was nothing wrong with my jeans. They were the correct size and length, and they buttoned just so. Their fit didn’t make me feel as though my ability to make a savvy purchase had been compromised. Yet, therein was the rub of it all! Had it been a simple case of bad taste in fashion or fit, I might have been able to let it all go, never giving it a second thought … yet I couldn’t seem to walk away from the reality of it all, and that little bite of reality screamed at me as few facts in life had … it was plainly and simply a case of body distortion.
Let’s have a small dose of reality, shall we? I mean, if there’s one thing that would be worse than your shirt raising up to show your belly button to the world, it would have to be when you realize that your belly button is no longer where you left it! Seriously … WHO MOVED MY BELLY BUTTON???
I’m not sure I can tell you when the last time actually was that I saw my belly button where I had left it, but I do remember it being there in school and on my wedding day. I also have a somewhat vague memory of it being there before I began heading into the depths of the despair of middle age. Yet, yesterday, I swear to you that it was at least four inches lower on my belly and at least an inch wider than it had been in its original state, and it was stretched as though it had no memory of ever being that cute little petite indention that I had grown to know and love. Just the opposite was true … it glowered at me as though it had never had an association with me at all … as though it had never called me, “Friend.” Somewhere along the way, I suppose that, unbeknownst to me, it had changed its mind regarding its faithfulness to me in our journey together into old age. But I had to admit that its betrayal was not the first. My hair was no longer the deep brown color of my youth. My teeth had gone to a transparent pasty thinness, and the rest of my torso looked as though I could have made a living as a Jello and Cottage Cheese spokesperson.
What had happened to me?
As I stood in that lonely place of life, I began to ponder the meaning of my belly button. I wasn’t sure why it bothered me so much that I had been betrayed by it. After all, it had never fed me or clothed me or soothed my uncontrollable urge for chocolate throughout the years. Yet, there it was … conjoined to my body in a metamorphosis of derision, staring back at my shocked look of despair while sporting its 4″ x 2″ twisted little grin. as though it were saying, “Can you handle my new look?”
It was then that I knew I had to decide on my reaction, and it was then that I knew my reaction — whatever it was — would render results which would affect how I would see myself in the years to come.
I can’t express to you how I felt at that moment … could never tell you the out-of-body experience I endured while standing there. But I can tell you this … as I stood there feeling knocked down by one of life’s little nuances, I began to realize that each daunting experience in life, no matter the size or shape, has been a test. How I have chosen to face each test has painted the portrait – a realistic and true reflection — of the person I am … and have become.
As a Christian, I must admit that there have always been tests … tests to choose GOD from Satan, right from wrong, good from evil, family from friendship, hard work from laziness, honesty from lies, good stewardship from greed, humility from power, integrity from popularity. Yes, the “testing ground” has always been there – its dubious trenches never ceasing. However, with the successful hurdle of each test, there has come change … and with each change encountered, spiritual growth has matured into seeing GOD’s plan above my own … thus, living a more GOD-centered life.
So if I must face each anxious moment, knowing that somehow through such a challenge I will be able to see Jesus more clearly in focus than at the beginning of such a test, then allow me to face each test one by one with the trustful endurance of having Jesus Christ by my side, so that, at the end of each “Test Anxiety 101″ class, I will have learned that HE is able to deliver me throughout every trying moment.
So, just keep smiling up at me, Little Miss Morphed Belly Button of Life … I am not the girl I used to be. There are many changes which I have endured … and I’m sure many more are to come. But I’m okay … I have reached a new place in my life!