Come As You Are

There’s beauty in your ashes


Back in 2010, we had a chaotic flurry of activity getting the entire family ready for church. I didn’t have time for breakfast, so I grabbed a protein bar as I ran out the door. I hurriedly ate it in the car and stuck the wrapper in my pocket. During the service, I took my daughter, Ocean, back to the nursing room. A friend of mine came in with her three girls — two toddlers and an infant of just a few months. My friend’s very beautiful — one of those women who always looks perfect on the outside and is truly lovely on the inside as well. And if that isn’t enough, she always seems to be wearing brand-name everything, all perfectly coordinated.

As we sat side by side nursing and talking, I was hit with the thought, “Oh my, I’m a mess. Why can’t I get it together?” She had lost her baby weight already, and I hadn’t. When she opened her diaper bag, it was perfectly organized. Her hair was perfect … as were her shoes, dress, jewelry, and purse.

All I’d had time for that morning was to grab a shirt out of the closet to go with a pair of white linen pants (since they go with anything). I’d barely had time to glance in the mirror.

The service ended while we were still in the nursing room. We stood up to pack our supplies when my friend said, “Uh, Andrea. You seem to have some, um, brown stuff on the side and back of your pants.” “What?” I craned my neck to see. Sure enough, my chocolate protein bar had left a very noticeable chocolate smudge all over the back and side of my pants. My white pants. A chocolate mess … on my pants! The church we were attending was large, with thousands of people in attendance, meaning I now had to walk past hundreds of people. I would have loved to look elegant and all put together like my friend, but that’s just not me.