Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bells On Her Toes

I don’t remember her name. But who could blame me. That summer at Lake Okoboji church camp was about thirty-five years ago.

We were at that age when you want to have a trademark, something unique about you and only you. The ironic thing of it is that it’s also a time when you don’t want to stand out. At least not in a way that gets you teased. You were looking for a trademark that made you seem cool.

And Jingles had it. Of course, her name wasn’t Jingles, but that’s what we called her because she’d tied a couple of little bells into the laces on her tennis shoes. She jingled every time she took a step.

All the adult camp counselors had to think it was ridiculous, but Jingles carried her trademark off with such self-confidence that she had all the little campers (including me) in awe.

She might have gained herself the nickname Ding-a-Ling just as easily. The only thing that tipped the balance in the direction of cool-rather-than-goof was the way she walked. Cool and collected. You just knew she'd be a head cheerleader or homecoming queen one day. She exuded confidence with every step.

And that’s what we admired more than anything. Certainly more than the bells themselves. Had any of the rest of us adopted that trademark and tried it out on our classmates at school, it would have turned into a nightmare.

As Catholics, we have our own trademark. It is the Sign of the Cross. When you make the Sign of the Cross, you will get noticed. You know, in your heart of hearts, that it could just as easily get you labeled goofball, or worse, fanatic.

But, if you ground yourself in your faith, if you truly take it on as your identity, you will garner a different response.

Respect. Admiration. And maybe even a few imitators.

The Sign of the Cross. It’s our trademark. Wear it courageously.

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