Obviously....I live on a farm. With animals. Some of them large.
A few of you have asked "Well, okay. Skirts for dealing with manure, and small critters like chickens, sure. What about the cows and pigs?"
Well, I'll tell you... (insert Monty Python soundtrack..."she's going to tell, she's going to tell, she's going to tell.." for someone who really rather detests musicals, I sure do have a lot of them in my head, don't I? ;-) )....
Cows, pigs, and other large farm animals, are a whole 'nother ball game. A cow that weighs in at 500-1000+ lbs charging at you, with hooves? NO WAY I would want to get my feet caught up in a skirt. That's D-E-A-D! Horses, same thing. Pigs, well, for as big as they can get (we butchered three of them well over 250 lbs) can be *incredibly* fast. And they are VICIOUS. Even gilts (castrated boars)--which is what we had here--will take a chomp out of just about anything and everything. God forbid you pass out, or get knocked out, in a pig pen by yourself. You may very well not come out of there alive. No joke, folks. Pigs are not cute, bumpling Porky Pig...They are large, they are fast, they have very sharp teeth, and they WILL EAT you. Imagine if "porky" grabbed a chunk of your skirt, floating in the breeze...and yanked. Not a pretty picture, is it?
Cows and horses are far more obvious concerns for many people. Being far larger, it makes sense to take those precautions with an animal as large as that. Hooves, horns, and sheer size make them dangerous, and it is important to be able to get away swiftly if need presents (of course, as often as possible, you should take precautions, but sometimes, no precaution will be enough...
There are other situations on a farm, where I would--and have!--worn a pair of pants. Such as, working on my roof, nailing down shingles after a VERY gusty windy night of storms. It was still gusting 35-40mph. This is, after all, Oklahoma. "Where the wind comes sweeping down the Plains" (a musical, btw, I have *never* seen, although I have it on DVD). Nothing like exposing one's self to the entire passage of traffic, in front of one's home. Which, considering that my neighbors run a very successful, very BUSY business out of their home? Um, yeah. Don't need my pretty white "Hanes Her Ways" showing off to the entire world. So pants it was. Not to mention, the kneeling on fiberglass shingles is FAR less than enjoyable, and I don't like fiberglass getting all over my legs. Pants, as much as I dislike them (and even more so, dislike the way I look in them), *do* provide me some coverage in that situation. Tights, or leggings, would not hold up well, and would be destroyed before I got half done.
The main thing, about wearing skirts, is, to my mind, remaining open to the possibility that, circumstances *may* in fact, dictate that at some point, I wear a pair of pants. The work I wore pants for on the roof, would have normally been work my darling El Husbando would have done...except for the fact he was leaving for work when we discovered the damage, and waiting another 8 hours to repair it, was not an option.
There are certain subjects, such as Church doctrine, that are non-negotiable. Period. Ever. Skirts/dresses are not Church dogma. Modest and feminine, yes. Certainly, a fine ideal, and a goal to shoot for. But the realization that everyone's life does not, in all situations, safely permit a skirts/dresses only, ever, stance, is important as well. Christian charity dictates that I understand that while the Church certainly is concerned with modesty and a proper understanding of the differences in the roles of the two genders, the Church is also most certainly not going to tell someone "Women must always wear skirts/dresses, else they be damned to Hell, regardless of their personal safety and well-being". It may be a matter of discipline, in some religious orders, it may be a matter of personal conviction. However, it is not a doctrine of the Church--not even a discipline, and therefore, we must, in all loving-kindness, remember that our sisters in Christ, who are on the same journey we are in this world, are not all at the same point we are. We are all going down the same road, but we have different perspectives on it, and our experiences of that journey, along it, are going to be radically different in some ways, and very similar in others.
It may be, that a given woman of your acquaintance, dresses what she considers "modest" (and many in the world would also consider it such). But you do not. Maybe her skirts are too high (or close to the knee) for your tastes. Maybe she doesn't wear skirts at all (for reasons you may know nothing about). But it remains incumbent on us, to love her just the same, to kindly, and charitably, remember her in our prayers for all the Church militant. Because God is, hopefully, working on her life, the way He has worked, is working, and will continue to work in your own. To pointedly denounce a sister in Christ, for her lack of dressing according to your standards, is not a good thing. It is, to my way of thinking, injurious. What are you showing her (and those who may be privy to your thoughts on her in particular)? Are you showing her a loving, kind, and modest spirit, understanding that her situation is not yours, that Christ may be working with her in an entirely different area than He is working with/in your own? And that perhaps, in time, with a proper attitude of loving kindness, charity, a faithful adherence to a non-judgemental attitude, and above all, JOY! she will come to see a different level of modesty and femininity for the treasures that they are (one not being exclusive to the other?).
It is difficult, because there are times I find myself very much tempted to denounce the failings of others--even if only in my heart of hearts. Like the Pharisee in the temple, who 'prayed', thanking God that "he was not like those others"...it is a wrong attitude to have, and I strive (sometimes harder than others) to root it out. Unfortunately, like all such sinful tendencies, it is extremely difficult to root out. Like Johnson grass (and if you live in the country for very long, you know very well what Johnson grass is, why you hate it, and how difficult it is to be rid of). In some cases, where tendencies are not caught early, it is more like Kudzu (growing up south of the Mason Dixon, I know all-too-well what kudzu is. And how fast it grows (up to a foot a DAY under ideal conditions!). Kudzu was once thought of as the "end all, be all" of erosion control...oh my, how we have learned *that* lesson!
A judgemental attitude on any non-dogma issue, is one that can be JUST like kudzu. We feel justified in our stance (we felt like importing an 'erosion specialist' was a great idea). After all, modesty and femininity are wonderful things, and in this world, we can use all of it we can get--the more modest, the better (Erosion control is needed, badly! We're losing acres of prime topsoil and farmland every year!)! Everyone should know how wonderful these ideals are, and everyone should, if they have any sense at all, 'see the reason' behind a call for greater modesty and femininity in modern life (If you don't use the latest and greatest erosion control 'treatment' on the market, then you're just stupid! A joke! Why do you call yourself a farmer?). And if they don't, well, they are just...wrong! They need to be told, precisely, why modesty is a virtue that they NEED--RIGHT NOW!!! And, btw, they need to accept *your* idea of what modesty and femininty means. Right now. Or they are wrong. Damned to hell, because their skirts are three inches shorter than yours. Because they wear short sleeves in the summer, instead of suffering through 110+F heat in August, wearing longsleeves and 'offering it up'....
None of my readers are like this, I am sure. But I am, unfortunately, equally sure we've all seen the type. The "I'm going to suck all of the joy out an issue, by insisting on everyone doing it my way, regardless of their current needs, their current 'location' on their journey towards (God willing) perfection in Christ, or any other particulars of their individual life (that you/we are very likely not privy to)." I've been around a few. And they *do* suck the joy right out a room...they can suck all of the joy out life itself, by making it seem like nothing more than rule upon rule upon rule...Catholic, Protestant, Jew, or Hindu, it wouldn't matter a bit. People who elevate a non-dogma issue, to dogmatic level, on their own 'say so'? Nope. Don't want to be around them. Try to run screaming in the other direction as quickly as I can, because they have a way of poisoning the happiness of all around them. A pity, because many of them are, in other respects, perfectly wonderful people.
I've been a Protestant. I've been a Catholic. I've seen that 'self-proclaimed authority on all things "X" ' type a few times in both groups. No group is immune. I've seen wonderfully happy Christians, living out their beliefs, as well...I've yet to see one group have a monotony on one extreme or the other...we're all afflicted by this same "disease"...
A return to a greater understanding of our femininty, is vitally important. And with that, a return to a more modest mindset, as to how we approach not just our external lives, but our internal, spiritual ones as well. We are NOT 'the authority'. No one died, and made us God. Or pope. Modesty cannot just be externals. Understanding that we, individually, do not have all of the answers...understanding that where we are on this journey with, and TO, Him, the Creator of all things, is where *we* are...not where everyone else is. Our journey is just that. OURS. Not my sister's, my next-door neighbor's. Not my best friend's, nor my husband's.
And that, dear readers, is that. Concentrate on your own journey. Be supportive of other's journeys. Show them LOVE. Show them CHARITY (in thought and in deed). Remember, we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves...and while love sometimes requires us to point out sin...we need to be very very careful that what we are pointing out is, in fact, SIN, and is not just an offence to our personal sense of 'whatever'.
For now, dear readers, I am off to the inaugural attempt at "indoor brick oven" pizza...but more on that, later...have a very safe and blessed weekend...
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