Monday, July 28, 2008

impressions

“You only get one chance to make a first impression”. At least that’s what they say…. “They” being the invisible force of opinion that rules the world. That’s a bit of pressure. I mean, if you don’t get it right the first time, then who really knows if you’ll be able to get it at all? One of the things that fascinates me about the north west is the reality that many here don’t seem to be hung up on what their first impression might be or whether or not it influences others for bad or good. Our contributions to the fashion world are, after all, fleece, socks and sandals, fleece, Doc Martins, fleece and vests made of fleece. It’s not really much of anything to boast about. I’m convinced that this area of the country has the least amount of mirrors per capita, and most of those that do exist are probably part of an independent art exhibit.
There is not nearly the pressure here that I’ve experienced in other areas of the country. Just one early morning visit to my beachfront hangout here at Starbucks would confirm that we’re not all that wrapped up in this idea. Just ask indigo hair guy, or slippers girl, or the guy in the Sponge Bob boxers, they don’t seem to be hung up on impressions. I haven’t seen hair like this since the last wake up call at an elementary age sleepover. And then there’s me. I’m the one who see’s some distorted wisdom in paying decent hard earned money to keep my hair looking messy. I mess it up and then put this natural, organic (code word expensive) crap in it to hold it there. If I’m not successful making it look messy, then I put a hat on. It all seems kind of backwards to the logical mind. We don’t care about logic here.
I could tell you that I haven’t fallen into the trap of conformity…that I haven’t sold out to “the man” (or woman)…that I don’t care about first impressions, but that would be a lie. I’m not a liar, I’m a pastor (pastoral artist to you). I may stretch reality a bit or say “someone once said” before a story, but I wouldn’t lie about this. I spent the first 15 minutes this morning trying to figure out what a good opening sentence would be to this post. After all, if the first line was not engaging, then you wouldn’t have gotten this far now would you? I spend significant effort each week trying to figure out how a good first impression might lead into a teaching time with my community o’ faith. I am always seeking how to engage others in whatever the Book says. There is nothing more lame in my line of work than to communicate that God’s words in the book might be a bit boring or irrelevant.
Sometimes it even comes down to what I will wear and what that will communicate about me or else what my wife will let me leave the house wearing. Honestly, She is actually more concerned about what my clothing choice says about her than about me. I try to honor that. After all, somewhere back in time, I made an impression on her and she married me. I’m not so sure it was the first impression that did it. Fortunately, she was gracious enough for another chance. We don’t always get that.

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