Well, today is my last day to finish what needs to be done here, and then we’re off on the big road trip to the Midwest.

I dread the drive, but I usually end up loving it the further we go, because it gives my mind time to settle down without any of the normal outside distractions. (Although sometimes too much quality time in my head can make me a little nuts when I start that “stinkin’ thinkin.”)

I got into a big argument with Niki the other day about dressing up for Easter church services. I was trying to explain to her that the culture is different there (especially in the Protestant churches) and people just dress up for church. It’s what they do, and it’s what we’re going to do.

She got very pissy and sat in stony silence with her arms crossed. I asked her what in the world I could have said that made her angry. She told me I was going against every principle I had taught her – that God doesn’t care what you wear to worship Him, and most of all, to be ourselves, not conform to other people’s expectations.

Yikes. She does hear me.

So we had another discussion, (well, I preached and she pouted) about being respectful of other people’s cultures and traditions.

Sometimes I amaze myself at the things I learn when I hear myself talk to her. She’s one smart cookie.

I remembered all the times my mother stressed over the dumbest things and made us take painstaking efforts to look nice and act a certain way around my grandmother. It made me crazy. Mammaw was a little judgmental, but I think Mom exaggerated it all in her mind, and felt that we were a reflection of her in Mammaw’s eyes. If we looked good, Mom earned extra points or something. My sister felt it, also. She got to the point that she would not go anywhere around our grandmother, because Wendy had taken up smoking, and Mom didn’t want Mammaw to know. Wendy was afraid she’d let the secret slip, so she avoided all interaction as much as possible.

I don’t think I’m that bad.

But I do think that in having freedom to be ourselves, we can also make a respectful choice to blend in a little sometimes and not ruin another person’s experience because of our sheer stubbornness.

It’s another one of those “fine line” things.

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