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Columnists

Not too shabby

Jude SImpson

SimpsonIt's a measure of how bad a day I was having that when the builder (currently engaged in re-configuring our loft) walked in on me sitting on the loo, I barely batted an eyelid.  Dignity?  Qué?  
Locking is a luxury. I'm usually the only adult in the house, and keep the door ajar in case a child emergency should require the extra half-second response time denied by having to pull the bolt back. Loo-door-locking is something I only do at weekends now, by prior arrangement with the child-friendly Hubster. On a good day, I can negotiate ten minutes. Bliss!    

I'm tempted to say that my dignity went out of the window when I started having children, but really it joyfully defenestrated itself way before that. Fifteen years spent looking for a suitable mate was hardly a time of serenity and poise. That's probably why it took 15 years. Having now realised my unsuitability for any dignified occupation, going on stage and being professionally undignified (and occasionally paid for it) is a satisfying lifestyle second-choice.  

The Bible tells us that we are a chosen people, specially selected to display the glory of God. That's surely one of the most comical passages in God's whole book!  'How's my glorifying?' the bumper sticker might read. 'Call 0800 ROYAL PRIESTHOOD'. It makes the Almighty seems like a bloody-minded nutcase who enjoys making things hard for himself.  It's like an old master choosing a second-hand, distorted, grubby canvas with holes in, on which to create his new masterpiece. But then, if all the canvasses you can get are distorted and grubby...  And if your glory consists not of creating something amazing from nothing, but of creating something beautiful from what was hopeless and spoilt...  

My children are my glory at the moment. Not because they have smooth skin or perfect looks, but because their response to seeing a sandpit is to climb into it, and their response to, 'What are you eating' is more often than not 'snot' (truthfulness is an early natural ability, vanity comes much later).  The stain on my top does not represent indignity. Rather, it is proof of children who love getting close to me (and wiping it on Mummy's shoulder is marginally preferable to consuming it).  

For some people, their glory is their car, trophy spouse, job or flawless complexion. For others, it's the fact they got wrinkles through 40 years of volunteering, working to support a family, or simply smiling a lot.    
If God's strength is perfected in weakness, maybe his glory is perfected in shabbiness, loss of dignity, punctured pride, quiet persistence and sheer exhaustion - all due to having the right priorities.  

Stinky stables, amateur leaders, stuttering patriarchs, childless parents, sick relatives, infuriated prophets, mothers who have forgotten how to lock a loo door and thereby risk displaying their glory inadvertently to the hapless plasterer.  All these, it seems, God counts as feathers in his cap.  How's your glorifying? 

Jude Simpson