Friday, October 14, 2011

hairnets MUST be worn

Our uniforms are all the same, but I am an imposter, and everyone knows just by looking at me. I do my best, trot across the shop and flash friendly smiles and try not to splash coffee, but they know. It's sort of embarrassing, having random customers smile and wink and whisper, "It's okay; you're doing great."

The temptation is to slump, to hunch my shoulders and try to hide the uniform and myself, too. The damn pants are a size too large and the belt is barely working. I hate tucking in and buttoning the top buttons of my shirts, and I despise wearing socks and shoes all day. I want to let my shoulders fall into the sheepish lines that I feel in my soul. But I cannot. I know if I crumble once I will shatter, and it will all be over.

I can't remember much, though everything is repeated at least three times. I slip and fumble and hang my head and admit my forgetfulness and beg help, and it is given. Cheerful, patient, kind, their hands fly through the steps and their words remind me of what I'd already learned. Sometimes they give the product to me to deliver, and I try not to slouch across the room, try to look the customer in the eyes even though they see my shameful lack of skill.

It's pure humiliation, this whole job.

And I don't mean because of what I do, because I have a university degree and I'm serving coffee. I'm not ashamed of that. I need work, and they gave it to me. I am grateful for that.

I am at a place in my life where I am fairly good at everything I do. I am good at babysitting, I am good at working at the library, I am good at navigating the social circles I float in, I am good at living with my family without being grumpy all the time. I know how to do those things. If I don't know how to do something, I don't do it. I stick to the areas I know I shine.

This job is humiliation, because it proves I don't know what the hell I'm doing.

It hurts, being reminded of that. It stings to have it flung in my face a thousand times an hour. It makes me squirm, more each minute, to realize I don't even know how to place my body, or where to look, or what to listen for. I want to scream and fling off my uniform and fly from the store, never to return.

And yet, through the sting in my eyes and the shame in my throat, I realize that all of this humiliation is very very good for me.

Humble yourself in the sight of the LORD.

Yes. That's what I need. Not what I want. Not what feels good. Not what makes me happy. But what I need.

Humble yourself in the sight of the LORD. 

A thousand times a day, an hour, I am humbled, in this new job, this new position of being trainee instead of This is Katie, she's been with us awhile and she's wonderful.

It is good. And I am being broken, once again, of the pride I keep hoping has left my heart once and for all.

Humble yourself in the sight of the LORD
and He will lift you up. 

There is still promise, even in the humiliation. So instead of slumping with despair, hiding within my uniform, I hold my shoulders back and lead with my hips, smile more than I feel is believable. I walk fast, and hold my head high like I am queen of the world. I don't let myself be afraid. I know that my God is coming to scoop up the scrambled pieces of me . . . and make something good.

You make beautiful things

You make beautiful things out of us

He has brought me here. He has promised. He is strong enough to deliver on His word.

And I wait.

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