Monday, June 07, 2010
Beyond the Swimsuit Issue -- Gibson
We took to the water recently, the Preacher and I. Bodies filled the indoor pool, sporting a colorful array of swimsuits, in varying coverages. We wore boring, conservative styles, befitting our weathered frames.
A few decades ago, we looked different.
I shrieked the first time I saw the Preacher in a bathing suit—a roaring-twenties-style, one piece, purple full-body costume. He bought it himself, “because no one else had one.” Sleeveless, it flowed almost to his knees and floated clear up to his collar bones. It had narrow green and white horizontal stripes, and buttons down the front.
Even in the seventies, that swimsuit was an anomaly.
The Preacher’s physique has changed since then. He once had the profile of a pencil (with long wavy hair), weighed a mere hundred and sixty-five pounds, and enjoyed the reputation around campus as an academic and sports heavyweight.
Wearing that suit made him dangerous. His well-aimed teardrop dives erupted in volleys of splashes that sent clusters of co-ed girls, myself among them, squealing in protest to the pool’s edges.
My own most memorable bathing suit was only that for me: a rather conservative black bikini with tiny bright flowers.
I’d purchased it in spite of my raising, one that installed in me a deep-seated certainty that only the female lower legs, arms, neck, and facial skin could tolerate direct air. I’d never owned a two-piece, let alone a bikini, and I wore it only once, on a swim date with the Preacher. (At least one of us was properly clothed.)
On another visit to the local pool with my grandchildren, a lovely lady wearing a truly teeny, weeny, eensy bikini entered the pool area. Benjamin’s already large eyes widened even more. “Nana,” he exclaimed, in loud amazement. “That lady is wearing her undies!”
I chuckled. “It sure does look that way, doesn’t it?”
He watched her slip into the water, then turned to me, “Nana,” he said again. This time his voice softened into full-blown compassionate wonder. “Did she FORGET to put on her bathing suit?
Does she HAVE a bathing suit? ”
“Do you think she needs one?”
He nodded slowly. “Yaw. She should get one. Mama should give her one, I think.”
Right there, I felt a pang of sadness. Our sexually charged culture will assault that beautiful innocence. Attempt to batter it on the craggy cliffs of peer pressure. The devil will help.
My grandson looked at a beautiful body, and saw need—hers. Many others would have seen need too—their own.
Pornography, flourishing through easy internet access, has become a terminal cancer among us. The Preacher and I have watched it kill marriages and rot friends and colleagues from the inside out.
Christ grieves those tragedies—many involve his own children.
Nevertheless, like the Preacher’s well-aimed teardrop dives, websites like www.pureintimacy.org , www.covenanteyes.com , and www.x3pure.com, splash a volley of refreshing hope in the midst of the maelstrom.
If pornography has seared you, remember: God is far bigger.
Kathleen Gibson, faith and life columnist. Author, West Nile Diary, and Practice by Practice
This column was published on June 2, in Yorkton This Week, and online.
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