Per chance, have you seen a pair of “Grandma Bloomers” hanging on a clothesline?” If not, close your eyes and imagine: your neighbor has hung out a fresh load of wet laundry to dry on a clothesline, in his or her backyard. On white cord stretched from a house to a nine-foot pole in your neighbor’s yard, you see articles of clothing. Yes hanging on that line is attire for every size, fit to the occupants of your neighbor’s home. There are brightly colored children’s T-shirts, tiny white socks for baby and blue jeans, in lengths ranging from toddler to adult, knees shredded and all. Then, there they are, for all-of-the world to see, a big pair of unbleached cotton shorts, soft and gathered at the knee, with possibly a patch or two on the posterior, revealing the stress of repetitive wear. Yes, now you have got it, the image of Grandma’s Bloomers in full regalia! Seeing them may cause you to blush the next time you meet Grandma in face-to-face… such private, dainty things.
My point? Life, overwhelmingly layered with the likes of Grandma’s Bloomers, keeps us guessing, and hopefully on our knees. The things that cause us to turn our gaze quickly, or blush, break into tears or at best, break out in a hardy, loud guffaw are what Grandma’s Bloomers bring to mind. I do believe that it is in such moments GOD begins to show us our true selves, and ultimately shapes the overcoming, successful people He means for us to be. I suppose that is why a young life seems to be a fountain of moments of total embarrassment and occasional downright shame. Like the time I thought it was a good idea to stand on my old hard cast rocking horse (or Pony as I recall him).
Growing up in South Central Los Angeles made us the happy recipients of Beverly Hills cast offs and that is how I got my beautiful Pony. It was one of those big plastic horses with four industrial sized springs suspending it in midair between a red, heavy metal four post-frame. One summer, a favorite aunt was caring for my siblings and I while our mom was at work; you know, the cat was away and the mice set to play. I was about four years old and my Pony, with varied shades of brown and a shiny hard plastic body, stood at the ready in the laundry room of a small, back property rental where we lived. The laundry room, just outside the kitchen, had a big window that covered with steam whenever a hot meal was prepared. OH! That steam was one of my favorite things, in my favorite play area. One night my family, excluding my heavy-handed single mom, gathered at the kitchen table for a hot meal.
Looking back, I think had great balance and agility for a little kid. My Aunt Deannie was a lovely, gentle, creative soul, and even at my young, preschool-age I knew she wouldn’t punish my tardiness to the table. So I played on and rode my Pony like never before, all day and into dinner time. Then I looked up saw that steamed window just waiting for me to draw pictures, write my ABCs and scribble. I think I remember that window actually calling my name. More than once, my Aunt Deannie, called out patiently,
”Jackie, come eat your dinner!”
My siblings snickered and chided,
“She don’t do that when Momma is home.”
Then it hit me, I could stand on Pony! Just like that clown in “Fun with Dick and Jane”, I could ride the circus pony! Not only that, but standing on Pony, I knew from experience, would lift me high enough to fill that wonderful steamed-up laundry room window with fabulous works of art; all while I rode, bare back and standing tall! Moving from my saddle to standing was easy. In my bare feet, bare back was a cinch.
“Jackie Elise, come and eat your dinner. Its getting cold.”
Up I was, bouncing and having the time of my life with no spanking in sight. I filled that window with works greater than I had ever done. Then I saw it, a spot full of steam and untouched, so high up above me that there was no way a human hand had ever touched it. I had to be the one to do it and so with one, full, bounce on Pony, a jump of my feet and a big stretch… I reached and ‘BLAMMM, CLINK, SLAMM, SPRINNGGG! SPRUNGGG! THUMP! I was down! Pony threw me! My brown shiny Pony lay slumped to one side in its metal four- post holder as I lay between it and the laundry room wall. I could hear my family rustling to see what had happened and all I could think of was the beating I would get when my mother got home. Quick thinking was a survival tool so I started to think, before I started to cry. Knowing the only thing that broke was Pony’s spring and my spirit, I realized I didn’t break anything else- for which I would receive extra licks if I had and so I explained, “Nutting didn’t break! Nutting didn’t break!” (An explanation my older siblings have never let me forget.)
In that moment I received a very special lesson about obedience and the consequences of disobedience. My lovely, gentle and patient Aunt Deannie rushed into the laundry room, swooped me up by one arm and swatted me across the butt all in one svelte swoop. “Get to that table and eat your dinner!”
Perhaps a disobedient heart causes us to feel the most embarrassed or ashamed. Maybe it is the hard lessons we must learn in life that bring us to realize not only that our “Grandma’s Bloomers” are showing but that they are really a sight nobody really wants to see. Believing that GOD the Father has only good things in mind for His children, I now laugh at memories of multiple embarrassing moments in my life. Thanks be to GOD, I have learned so many lessons and recognize there may be more chagrin in my very near future. However there is a great hope in knowing that Christ Jesus knows my every emotion and took to the Cross any lasting effect my own “Grandma’s Bloomers” may have on my own well-being.
Got some ‘bloomers” of your own? Please be encouraged Friend, GOD really is not finished with us and He never will be.
“Looking to Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2