My Dad owned a mechanic shop in our tiny, rural Alabama town.
My Momma kept this kid whose Momma worked at the bank for $1/hr.
Everyone was poor, unless they lived on the river. Or worked for Alabama Power.
We went to garage sales, not because my parents wanted to find treasures like they do on “American Pickers“, but because we were poor. You know how some kids get new school clothes every Fall? So did I, but mine were from the Thrift Store.
We washed clothes and bathed at my Grandparent‘s house sometimes, because the power and water had been cut off.
Sometimes we went quite a while without a phone.
I remember vividly, being about six-years-old, and it was the first day of baseball practice. We had been lucky enough to find me a pair of decent cleats at the Thrift Store, and I’m certain they were too big. Dad always picked them too big, so that I would “grow into them”. (He didn’t have the money to buy a pair of shoes in every size.) Anyways…we walked out to practice that day and one of the “Alabama Power” Moms said, “Oh Steve, new cleats? Where’d you get those?” It’s funny that she even noticed them…I’m sure she had to turn her nose down a few degrees to see them. Without thinking, I responded excitedly, “We got ’em at the Thrift Store!”
I don’t know if Momma hung her head in shame or not. No. I know she didn’t. She probably held her head a little higher, even if her heart sunk.
Speaking of Momma–she would iron my clothes: jeans, shorts, t-shirts (probably drawers too). You name it, she ironed it. It didn’t matter if we were poor and my clothes cost $0.79 off the Goodwill rack, she was determined for “her baby” to look good. We might have been poor, but we weren’t going to act like it.
The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance. (1 Cor. 12:25-26…read 13-31 when you have time)
I’m thankful that my parents instilled in me many years ago that my self-worth isn’t based on the acceptance or rejection of others. I’m proud of who I am. Proud of my family name. Proud of my roots.
Steve Austin is an author, speaker, and life coach who is passionate about helping overwhelmed people learn to catch their breath. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers, "Catching Your Breath," and "From Pastor to a Psych Ward." Steve lives with his wife and two children in Birmingham, Alabama.
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