Friday, May 9, 2008

A Sunday Ride in White Satin

So I haven’t written a bus story in a while. Here it goes.

KUC recently recognized a few new members. Whenever there’s the completion of a new members class, the new members are introduced to the congregation. The introduction of one of the recent new members included the fact that she lives on the windward side, used to drive to a church in Mililani, and now makes the journey to Kalihi every Sunday. Talk about a commitment to God!

This reminded me of riding the bus home one Sunday earlier this year. Once a month, Mom has another class after church. It’s in Hawai‘i Kai for like 3 hours. If I was in better shape, I’d drop her off and spend a few hours at the beach. But as it is, and with a lot of studying to do, I’ve been taking the bus home after church when Mom has class.

One Sunday, Mom didn’t remind me that she had class after church until we got to church. After church, I got on the bus in my high heels. I like dressing up for church and that includes heels, but if I know I’ll be taking the bus, I usually wear slippers. I’m not into the self-inflicted pain side of wearing heels.

So I’m on the bus and it quickly fills up. When it starts to get filled up, I stand up and move to the back. I’m standing up in heels while there are guys that are sitting in the aisle seat next to an empty window seat and they neither offer the empty seat to me in heels nor to other women coming on the bus. I’m sorry, that’s just inconsiderate.

But I’m forgetting why I was writing this. Back in Kalihi, when I got on the bus, I sat in the front. Across from me sat an older lady in full satin mu‘umu‘u and a hat, beautiful. I mean the satin mu‘umu‘u was white with a gorgeous purple print that started at the side and swooped across and down to the hem. She had gotten on before me somewhere in Kalihi probably, most likely from the church service held in Farrington’s auditorium. As far as I could tell, she got off somewhere in Pearl City.

What came to my mind was that she was very well-dressed, she looked amazing! She must be coming from church and she must have a heart for God that she would dress in her best for Him. Another thought I had was that it must be a good church she goes to in order to believe it’s worth getting up every Sunday, getting dressed in a satin gown and getting on a bus from PC to Kalihi to get to that church. The service held at Farrington is a very well-known and popular one, so I think she most likely had come from there.

Final thought, I’d like to be like that woman.

I am very aware that appearances can be deceiving, but sometimes appearances are everything. I don’t mean that I need to look great all the time for showing people and getting compliments from them on the way I look. And it could very well be that the woman had dressed that way for work and was on her way to or from work. But I’m fairly sure of my assessment, that she is a Godly woman who believes in the church which she attends.

Why else would someone wear white satin on a relatively dirty city bus? And she had a warm smile on her face, looking so content. When I see someone like her, it’s just noticeable. It’s attractive in that I’d like to look and most likely feel as good as she does when I am her age.
Most churches in Hawai‘i at least don’t have much of a dress code. I suspect in the southern states, it’s still proper to dress their Sunday best. KUC doesn’t direct the clothing of the congregation as long as one is covered pretty much. Shorts are okay, t-shirts are okay, slippers are okay. That’s how I dressed for church at least during the high school years. Nobody told me to cover my knees or that girls ought to be wearing dresses and skirts in church. It wasn’t about not respecting church but, in Hawai‘i, it’s about comfort.

Even before seeing the lady on the bus, I had the conviction that I should dress better for church. Well, not that I should but that I want to dress better. I want my outsides to show how good I’m feeling on the insides and that the good feeling comes from God. Why should I not dress up for worshiping God in His house? It isn’t to say that I only worship God on Sundays in church; worshiping God should be a daily thing wherever I am. But Sundays in church is when I get to, I am allowed to dress the way I want to, not for work or school or for whatever activity. Sunday in church is specifically for God and so now I dress up to worship God.

But I used to feel uncomfortable walking into L&L after church dressed up. I don’t anymore. And after seeing that lady, I never can feel uncomfortable about that again. Who cares? I’m not dressing for the people in L&L. I’m dressing for God.