A couple of weeks ago, I had another classic visit with Ms. June. I wanted to introduce her to my mentoring student, who will be assisting me this semester with pastoral care.
June came to the door to let us in, and thus began our fun fest of witty banter.
June: Well, I was wondering when you were gonna show up.
Sara: I brought a friend. This is Valerie. Valerie, this is June. Valerie is going to come visit you sometimes, is that ok?
June: Yep. Come any time.
We talk and they get to know each other. And then she asks about me.
Sara: I moved to a new apartment with a roommate.
June: Is it a man?
June (obviously disappointed): *sigh* Oh.
Sara: June, you’re so crazy.
June: Well, I’m just saying. How’s Norma?
Sara: She’s good!
June: I like her.
Sara: Mm hm!
June: I said I liked NORM- AH. I wasn’t talking about you!
Sara: I know, I was agreeing with you! When are you gonna come back and see us? I’m preaching on Sunday… You could come then.
June: I can’t go out while I don’t have any hair. And don’t say I can wear a head scarf. It’s not the same.
We wrap up our visit soon after that and head out. She sure keeps me on my toes!
Last week, I debuted my geriatric visiting tutu. I have a pediatric one I used in my work at the children’s hospital, which is framed in my office along with my chaplain polo.
This time, I thought Lillian might like knowing that I think she is absolutely worth sparkle and shine.
Lillian: Well, look at you! Don’t you look nice!
Sara: I thought you could use some sparkle today.
Lillian: Today and every day. Well now, Sara, what are you wearing such a costume for?
Sara: I call it my joy skirt. Because I want you to have joy.
Lillian: A joy skirt. Well, that’s a good thing.
We talk, and she shares about how much she misses her friend and how her mom tried to raise her to have joy in her life, which is exactly what I’d hoped for.
She feels safe and valued and, in the presence of childlike delight, her own mood changes into a childlike delight and reminiscence on her childhood and her mother’s sweet care for her.
Then, she moves to a state of childlike vulnerability as she shares about her grief in the recent loss of her dear friend.
And thus, like it did in pediatrics, my new tutu; the visiting prop becomes a vestment.
A representation of God’s call on and preparation of me, as a minister and messenger.
My message is God’s love to all, and my ministry is to bring that love to all – most especially to “the least of these;” for inasmuch as I wear a joy skirt tutu for Lillian to feel worthy of beauty and sparkle and shine, I wear it for God to remind God of my commitment to bring God’s sparkle to the world around me, one tutu at a time.