The Bumper Sticker Problem

I often kick myself for not writing.
There is so much to say and so many interesting ways to say it. As soon as I commit to a topic it drags three or four friends along and I lose focus. Perhaps not wanting to look back and wince at my word choice or uninformed viewpoint (as close as I will ever get to perfectionism) plays a role. But at its base, I believe it is deeply related to my dislike of bumper stickers.
Hear me out.
How many times do you pull up behind a car at a stoplight, see a person’s bevy of bumper stickers and think “I know who’s driving that car.” You see expensive private school and exotic vacation locale stickers on a nice car you make a diagnosis of snotty, privileged and out of touch. You can suss out kooky cat ladies, stoner musicians, militant feminists, whiny patchouli-soaked college kids, soccer moms, gung ho hunters, hardcore fitness buffs and political diehards in much the same way. There you have it, that driver is sorted and tagged forever to be labeled with that slice of themselves that they chose to advertise.
Tattoos have the same problem.
You are what your forearm says you are…every day.
What pithy saying, logo, sport or institution do I want to support daily?
I know what is important to me and I want to share that, but I want somebody to know me well enough that they don’t dismiss me along with one idea.
You see, I get pigeon-holed way too much as it is. Who needs an aquarium of ichthus fish on their car when the label of “preacher’s wife” will pretty much sum you up to the outside world?
I am married to a pastor, it’s true, but that stereotype, that expectation, that’s not me! God knew what He was doing calling Eric into ministry after we were married. He knew I would have balked at the title and the responsibility.
Putting me on a pedestal is like putting a cat in a bathtub.
It is not going to happen without a fight.
A sweet girl called me First Lady once and I can assure you she never made that mistake again. I want to be respected, yes, but I am uninterested in the facade.
If you know me at all, you know I believe there are two types of people in the world: Those that don’t care if it’s pretty, as long as it’s real and those that don’t care if it’s real as long as it’s pretty.
You must understand that I have two feet firmly planted in the real camp.
I am madly, deeply in love with my husband, my Savior and my sweet, little church, so much so that I will not have any of them reduced to a glib stereotype that can easily be dismissed.
God calls me to grow more in His likeness each day.
I yearn to be more tomorrow than I am today.
But, at some point, you run out of future.
Some things need to be said.
Like, if your life is a mess and you can’t figure out what you keep doing wrong, get still, think about what you really want out of life- love? community? peace?- then pray earnestly and listen. See if you don’t figure out the first steps of how to get there with a little help.
For me, it is to write anyway.
People will disagree with me.
Write anyway.
People will dismiss everything I have to say because of some minor offense.
Write anyway.
There are achingly eloquent writers doing a better job than me.
Write anyway.
For that is the only way to get better. That is the only way to get past the glib, the trite, the cliche, the insincere and find buried truths that I accidently hid away in moments of pain or anger. Each word is another step in the path toward being a great writer.
Is it that simple? No. Not by a long shot, but you will have begun.
Perhaps that is my bumper sticker:
Be still. Listen. Begin.


One thought on “The Bumper Sticker Problem

  1. I love this. So much. And your line about real or pretty is one of my favorite lines ever. You are so right- on so many levels . . . the bumper stickers and stereotypes . . . I’d never thought of it that way before. And you are one of my favorite “real” pastors wives!! Wish we could sit and talk about all of this . . . which reminds me, I need to respond to your email!!!

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