I'll share one of those moments with you today.
I was raised in a family that believed church was extremely important and needed to be attended every single week. Without. Fail.
My parents were very tight with the other members of our church, especially with the Pastor and his wife. I remember my mom always reminding me to be on my best behavior around them because they were our leaders and therefore deserved our utmost respect.
Our church was of the Lutheran denomination. In case you are not aware, in a Lutheran church there are many unspoken rules that everyone obeys, lest they be chastised privately by the rest of the congregation.
One rule that my mom and dad made sure our family adhered to like glue was this:
Always Look Your Best
Despite how it sounds, this did not mean to simply keep your hair combed and have a clean face.
No, No, NO.
This meant so much more.
A child that showed up to church in jeans and a T-shirt (even if they were clean as a whistle) was clearly into "that pot stuff" or listening to "devil heavy metal".
Any child who wore nail polish in any color other than pink, light pink, hot pink or pale pink was destined for prostitution.
As a parent, if you wanted to be sure your kid was talked about behind every closed door and bathroom stall, all you had to do was let him pick his own outfit for church.
My parents thankfully refused to let me make a fool of myself, and dressed me in proper church attire. Skirts, dresses, effing panty hose, black patent leather shoes.
One Sunday I remember very clearly. I had a new dress (well, it was new to me. I was a victim of hand-me-downs.) that was essentially a jumper. It was a pink and black plaid dress that went over top of a blouse. It looked like this, except not stylish.
I loved my jumper dress. Mom of course insisted that I wear panty hose with the dress because that's what ladies do in church.
I didn't have a choice.
That particular Sunday in between church and Sunday school, I went to use the bathroom in my new jumper. I was in a hurry because our church had just bought a new soda machine.
(Seriously, this is a big step in the Lutheran church. It was a huge controversy at the time.)
I wanted to get a soda to help me get through Sunday School, so I quickly used the facilities and walked to the sink to wash my hands.
As I dispensed the soap, I heard snickers and mumbled conversation behind me. I assumed the other girls waiting in line for the toilets were admiring my jumper.
I patted my hands dry on a paper towel and headed for the door. Just then, the Pastor's wife exited one of the stalls. I smiled at her politely over my shoulder (Mom would be so proud) and reached for the door.
I nearly had the door completely open when I was suddenly yanked back inside by the shoulder.
I turned and found the Pastor's wife smiling down at me. She reached around my back and I felt a significant tugging by my butt.
"There you go!" she said sweetly. "Don't want to go out there like that! All the boys would be going crazy!"
Apparently, in my hurry to get to the pop machine, I had pulled my underwear and hose up too fast after peeing. I had inadvertently tucked the back my skirt right into my panty hose. My entire tukus, hose and underwear were completely exposed to everyone behind me.
(I could provide some lengthy commentary on the "good Christian girls" that stood behind me at the sink. But that's another post.)
That morning, the Pastor's wife saved me from certain humiliation.
Despite the awkwardness of having an authroity figure other than my mom pull clothing out of my crack, I did from that moment have a deeper respect for the Pastor's wife and am eternally grateful that she helped me out.
(Because really, there's nothing worse than a Lutheran boy getting an unauthorized peek at your goodies.)
(Seriously, after they get a taste, they'll be after you for life. This I can promise you.)
The Pastor's wife has since passed away, but I will always remember her kindness to an awkward little 6th grader, and how she showed me that being a good person has nothing to do with going to church or being a Lutheran or even being married to a Pastor.
It's simply a decision you make.