Friday, September 22, 2006

Defiled by the world

Today we made our semi-annual trek to Ottawa's second-hand Value Village shops. We pulled into the first store and the first thing I noticed was the big word COSTUMES in large bold capital letters on a banner spread across one fourth of the store front.

"Oh, yeah," I thought, "halloween is coming up." Duh, but I'd forgotten all about it. After all, it's a non-event in our house.

When I saw the sign, I almost wanted to forget about shopping. I've been to Value Village in the fall, and they don't have very many cute fairy, princess, ladybug, or pumpkin costumes. I don't think they even have many super hero costumes. I could be wrong, since I don't browse through the costumes. But what generally stands out all over the store, every where you look, are costumes, nick-nacks, decorations, and what-have-you with the one central theme of the dark side of halloween (is there a "light" side?): skulls, freakish monsters with red eyes, anything gory, all hideous.

I steeled myself with the determination to ignore all that for the sake of getting clothes. After all, we drove an hour to get there; we needed to make the trip worthwhile. So we got all nine children out of the van (okay, most of them got themselves out) and entered the store, cautioning the children to beware of the Gimmies. (If you don't know what Gimmies are, you probably don't have children.)

I was looking through the girls' dresses when I suddenly had the urge to get out. Fast. Loud heavy metal chaotic wickedness was blasting through the whole store. I have never shopped so fast in my life. I pulled about a dozen jumpers and dresses off the rack and was steering the cart and two little girls toward the fitting rooms when my husband came over and said, "We need to leave. Now." Instead of trying on all the clothes, I simply held them up to my daughters, discarded the ones I felt were too short, and headed toward the check-out.

Once out of the store, I thought, whew, that's done. Now on to the next store. Oldest daughter went to that one with friends, and said it was better and more organized. Got in the store and was greeted with the same in-your-face-and-ears wickedness. At least, this time it wasn't so loud. Walking out after we were done, I told the children that at least it was cheaper than buying fabric and taking the time to sew.

But was it really cheaper? Did we really need to subject ourselves and our children to the sights and sounds of wickedness just to save a few bucks? Was this trip so worth it financially as to offset the spiritual offense? Should we tolerate wickedness for the sake of our wallets?

I am beginning to think that perhaps next spring I will shop the local quiet fabric shops and take the time to sew. Time spent sewing with my daughters should not be thought of as "wasted" time. There was a time when women mostly sewed their own clothes, teaching skills to their daughters, all the while conversing together. Often neighboring women would get together to visit over their sewing. Christian women set up "Dorcas Societies" (see Acts 9:36-42) to sew for missionaries, war victims, and the poor. Often these sewing meetings included Bible study and prayer.

I think I'd much rather spend a week sewing and fellowshipping with my girls than spend a few hours immersing myself and my family in wickedness while looking through racks of clothes at some store.



Twinklemoose said...

What are Gimmies?

Anonymous said...

The sewing will be fun with the girls. I would probably still try to go to the second-hand stores, but now that you know there is so much bad stuff out this time of year, it might be better to plan the trip for a different time. I have had some success with asking that music be turned down if it is too loud. Are there any church-based clothing stores? Around here there are many places that allow you to select clothes for free, or you can make a donation of your choosing. -Melissa

pearl of grace said...

Twinkie, if you haven't met the Gimmies yet, perhaps you either have the world's most content children, or you don't take them shopping!

Melissa, I have heard of a place that sells used clothes cheap, in Quebec City. Friends who live there have offered to look for stuff there, for us. My oldest daughter wants to take a "Canadian History" field trip up there, and stop by that place on the way home. It's four hours or so from here, though, so I don't think we'll actually go ourselves.

I hadn't thought to ask if they could turn the music down. I'll have to remember that idea. But, really, I am hard of hearing, and it bothered me. I can't help but wonder what it would have been like for people with good ears! Maybe the rest of the shoppers were just used to it.

DD said...

I have a question: Were you upset by the decibels of the music? If so, I can understand how you felt. Loud, penetrating and ears shattering noise can be offensive to the soul....

pearl of grace said...

DD, I am a bit hard of hearing, so it takes a lot of continual volume before something becomes annoying to me. In this case, I was more bothered by the kind of noise. It was loud, but perhaps loud classical music wouldn't have bothered me.

Heavy metal rock and filthy rap bothers me.


MegLogan said...

Amen! Im with you. I get so sick of exposing my son to Halloween, and even when we go places that are not related people ask him if he is ready for Halloween or if he is excited or what he is going to be! (Im like "we dont really do halloween, he doesnt really know what it is.)

(I have let him dress up as a bug or puppy when he was a baby and go to the church festival. But I think i am going to stop that this year. It can only lead down a bad path.)

I have been learning how to sew too. The malls are sin city, and pornograhy is everywhere. Not to meantion it is terribly hard to even find anything decent.

Course I don't do most of my shopping in the mall, but at Walmart or a thrift store, but the options are usually slim pickin's.

Mrs Meg Logan

gsquilts4u said...

How did you feel when you were in 2nd grade and your mother would not let you go to school the day they were having a Halloween Party, (at a Christian School)?

pearl of grace said...

Hi, Mother!

I have to honestly admit -- I don't remember that. Must not have affected me that much.