Thursday, July 24, 2014

My Husband Gave Me a Modesty Lecture

"Your dress is a little revealing," my husband stated in the most monotone, obviously
not impressed, voice ever.

"What does that even mean?" I shot back a tad defensively. I suddenly felt on the insecure
side of it all; trapped in a car, on the way to church, with no way to change or alter the outfit.

He apparently saw something that I didn't see.

"I'm pregnant and married. And pregnant. Nobody cares, babe."

"You can think what you like, but that's not true. I care," he gently shared.

"Are you giving me a modesty lecture?!"

Oh man, he's serious. Immediately my mind races to the fact that I am 28 weeks pregnant
and bursting out of all my clothing in EVERY direction. He's lucky I didn't erupt in tears
right then and there just focusing on the fact that my body is "not normal", and clothes that
I typically wear with a size A bra, most likely from the junior's department, suddenly don't
look so "modest" anymore. I chose to play devil's advocate. Because I'm feisty like that.

"What? So I'm my brother's keeper or something holy like that?"

Before I knew it, bible verses were swinging, analogies were flying, and I found myself

Like for real. That came out of my mouth.

"So I can't drink alcohol because someone might be an alcoholic? I can't eat cake because someone
might be a glutton? I can't go shopping with a friend because they might be a thief. I can't wear
*this or that* because someone might struggle with lust? Sin is just waiting to happen.

Seriously, there's a very hormonal, 16 year old girl trapped somewhere inside my body.

The idea of having to think through every situation, outfit, is absolutely overwhelming to me;
positively scrupulous, slightly on the fundamentalist side of things with a dash of puritanism.

For me, modesty is not about the rules and regulations. I've never thought of it that way,
and I never will. I've met girls who live by the "2 inch" tank top and "finger tip length" shorts
law. That's just not me. But you know what, if that's their thing, all the power to them.

Because I truly believe that modesty is a matter of the HEART.
And it's a two-way street, brothers and sisters... a two-way street.

And I feel like there are two dominating strains of thought in this country:

1.) the body, sex, anything closely related is TABOO

2.) the body, sex, anything closely related should be EXPLOITED

No happy medium. It's either just "bad" or made "worse" by glorifying all the wrong things.

The body was created GOOD. So very good. Genesis 1:31. After "the fall", most obviously seen
in our present day and age, is the distortion of what was created GOOD - all things being bent and
twisted. Pleasurable, but not necessarily honorable. Desirable, but not necessarily properly ordered.

Break it down for me, Church:

"Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation
in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment
of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one's choice of
clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity.
It is discreet."
- Catechism of the Catholic Church 2522

"Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means
awakening in them respect for the human person."

- Catechism of the Catholic Church 2524

Respect for the human person. And this is why I think that modesty is a matter of the heart -
falling as a responsibility (let's say: "loving honor" - because it sounds less dutiful and more
of what it should be) on both the shoulders of men and women alike. I mean if we get it?!
If we get that our OWN BODIES are something precious, awesome, holy, creation-good -
along with the bodies of all those around us - then won't we EXUDE that respect
that the Church is talking about?

So I take it back. Blame it on pregnant hormones. I DO think we are our brother's keeper.
But remember that two-way street? Men are just as responsible to be keepers of their sisters.

"Because we transcend the physical world - being created in the image of God - we are all
capable of forming this kind of deep communion with our fellow human beings. It is part of what
makes us distinctively human. Living in community, we form bonds and help each other. We live for
each other's sake - not just our own
- Torode

I'm sorry if you were hoping I was going to dish out some juicy details about a husband who turned
the car around to drive home and make his wife change! It's not like that. It's more like:
"Hey, I love you, did you think about that dress you put on this morning?"
- sister's keeper, people.

At the end of the day, when I wash the make-up off my face and crumple into bed, I am not thinking
about how short my shorts were or how tight my tank top - I guess I'm examining my heart.

Do I see the GOODNESS in my own body? The people around me?
Do I know that I am loved? And that others deserve love too?
Do I feel respected? Did I show respect to others?

How did that play out, NOT ONLY in the way I dressed myself today,
but in my words and actions too?

The heart. What we do and say, how we act and dress - such a powerful reflection of what's going
on underneath it all - of what's being believed, bought, and sold below the skin, deep inside the
soul. We are all a beautiful mess, aren't we? Let's "keep" ourselves and encourage others, as a
loving honor, to express the goodness that lies within.

"Modesty is always beautiful." - G.K. Chesterton

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1 comment:

  1. I love this post. Thank you for sharing your point of view! I never thought about researching what the catechism of the Catholic church says about this topic. Since I got married (9 months ago), I've felt a growing love of modesty (of heart, actions, words, clothing, etc). My husband also gave me a "modesty talk" not too long ago. It really opened up a topic of conversation we had not had before! :-) Thank you, again.


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