“Having a clear faith, based on the creed of the church is often labeled today as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, which is letting oneself be tossed and swept along by every wind of teaching, look like the only attitude acceptable to today's standards.”
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
I don’t like ties. I tell people it’s because I am a hip millennial. Really it has to do with the fact that my neck is getting too fat for my dress shirts. Regardless, ties are an occupational hazard that I increasingly try to avoid. Last week as I was on my way to give a local talk, I realized that the flyer had "business professional" in small print at the bottom. I had a sports coat, but I was worried that as hip as I am, the no tie look may not go over well. Thankfully, I had given myself plenty of time and directed Siri to direct me to the closest men’s clothing store. As I followed my GPS, I pulled into a "Men’s Big and Tall" shop. "A tie’s a tie." I thought to myself as I ran through the parking lot. As the store associate came from the back at the sound of the front door bell, she looked me up and down and said, "Oh sweetie, you’re not tall enough or big enough to come through those doors." I was offended and affirmed at the same time. It was weird. "I just need a tie so it should be ok," I responded. "Nope" she replied immediately. "So literally everything is for the ‘big and tall’?" I asked. "Go big or go home," she said with a smile.
As I let Siri take me to the next men’s clothing option, I kind of found it refreshing, though admittedly unhelpful to me in the moment, to have experienced a place and a representative of that place with absolute clarity of purpose. Even though I was in need and willing to spend money, she knew she couldn’t help me even if I thought she could. How often do I try to chase opportunities in order to meet a goal or meet a person’s expectation when it’s not really my purpose or within my ability? Do I have clarity of purpose in my roles and do I think about that before I respond to requests? What was absolutely clear according to my wife, was that the $5 tie I found in time for my talk was worth every penny.