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June 22, 2010
The wrap dress: soft and comfortable but chic and understated. Guaranteed to look fabulous on any woman who wears it, regardless of her shape. Guaranteed by whom, I wondered. But I bought the dress.

I've worn it a few times, but this morning I found myself inexplicably confounded by its rather complex topology. You definitely need to get both waist ties to meet from opposite directions and join in the middle, but somehow they both kept ending up on the same side. There was a belt loop-- for sure, one of them is supposed to go through it. But then its direction is wrong. Why can I not do this today, when I've done it before?

I never did get it right. Feeling like a kindergartener who can't yet tie her shoes and ends up with an ugly knot instead, I found a way to tie it so that at least the dress won't fall off during the day. One hopes. Oy.

The frustration of being unable to master a task is bitter. It takes a brave person to persevere in the face of it. Toddlers are that brave -- they climb steps as high as their hips, struggle mightily to push a chair across the floor that weighs as much as they do. Their drive to learn is greater than their frustration, and it carries them.

I think about Jesus and the little children. Let them come, he said, don't shoo them away. You must become like them, in fact, to enter the household of God. We usually think of their innocence when we hear the story of this exchange, or their vulnerability. But those two are not the only facts of childhood: to those we must add children's endless curiosity, their boundless drive to know things they do not yet know, to try and try to do things they cannot yet do. They are ready to be empowered.

And empowerment never ends. We don't stop learning just because we grow up, unless we confuse God's radical acceptance of us just as we are with our own indolent desire not to grow and change. Just as I am, Christ welcomes me. And fires me, with every weakness I bring, with desire to become what I will be.
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