Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In a bead shop

Yesterday while walking through Fairhaven, my sister wanted to stop in a bead shop.  She needed to make some kind of pin for her knitting counter (I'm barely a knitter, so just smile and nod when she explains such things).  As she looked for what she wanted and E checked out the extensions for necklaces, I let my fingers drift through the long row of beads. 
"Excuse me," a young woman said. "I'm from the Herald.  Do you mind if I take a few pictures of you?"  "No," I said.  Her 'few' was actually more like 3 dozen pictures from every angle, as I picked up one bead then another, then finally began laying a row of them along my palm, as if I was going to make a necklace.  Make a necklace?  I've no more business making a beaded necklace than flying to the moon, but there I was, acting like I knew what I was doing, with a photographer practically standing on my shoulders to get a better angle.  It was fairly ridiculous.  And the next thing I knew I was actually buying that pile of beads, bringing home all the materials to actually put it together.  I'm telling you, I've uncovered a whole new marketing scheme: hire a photographer to snap pictures and ask questions, as if a shopper is being interviewed, and wah-lah, sale made!

And sure enough, this afternoon, E pulled up the Herald's website and there was my picture, in living color, complete with name, date and serial number.  As if I was actually a bonafide jewelry-maker.  I really think that woman picked me out because my shirt was orange and stood out against all the colors in the shop. 

Here's the picture.  See what I mean about the orange?  I look very intent, like I really know what I'm doing.  What a crack-up.

It makes me wonder how often this is how we appear to others: like we really know what we're doing, when in reality, we're just letting our fingers drift through the beads, marking time.  If we act the part, that's half the battle, according the world, our culture, the paper, right?  This is what confidence really is. 

But this isn't true.  This picture--these beads in my hand--don't make me a jewelry-maker.  They don't even make me all that interested in the craft.  I was nothing more than a human mannequin yesterday.  And I am certain this is absolutely the opposite of the kind of what God intends me to be.  In either form or function.  Called by Christ, given over to Him, I am meant to be also true in my innermost being.    Sure, one might say that this picture is morally neutral.  No harm, no foul, as a sports-person might say.  But it is a strong reminder to me to be who I really am, even in the smallest of ways. And not to pretend otherwise.  Even in a bead shop.

So I suppose I'll be making that beaded necklace.  Will that make it a true picture? Or simply prove that capitalism actually works?

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