In my many adventures and misadventures over the years, I’ve had the privilege of meeting individuals from all backgrounds and walks of life. Such experiences have been both informative and enlightening for me, seeing the world through the eyes of someone with different views and experiences than myself.
Since starting Easter Pup Creations and regularly doing various festivals and Farmer’s/Artisans markets, this has become even more pronounced and varied.
So, lately, I’ve been thinking ( yes, a dangerous pastime – I know ) , and it seems that some of my best customers and favorite people I’ve gotten to visit with at my booth have been “misfits”. I can already hear some of you yelling at me, “’ MISFITS’! How dare you refer to people like that?!”
Let me explain…
First off, I’ve always been a bit of a misfit. Despite outward appearances and the mask I wear showing me as a confident and outgoing person has been just that. A mask I wear. As far back as I can remember, I always felt as if I didn’t fit in and just wanted to belong somewhere. Unfortunately like many others, that desire had led me down some undesirable paths in my past. In school, I had become a photographer (a rather decent one if I may say so) because I not only loved the art, but because I could be included in many things without really being seen. It’s quite easy to hide behind the camera. I intended to pursue a career as a professional photographer but somehow along the way I was introduced to EMS and that took me down a different path with mixed results.
In my spiritual growth and journeys, I was lost. I was a seeker. I was afraid to open up yet, I longed to fit in and belong. Granted, I have since found and become an active member of an amazing parish that is open, diverse, caring ,loving and warm. There, my family and I found ourselves welcomed and received with open and welcoming arms.
Even though I’ve become rather active ( I’ve got this issue of opening my mouth too often and find myself involved even more) , I still at times feel anxious and afraid. Afraid, that I don’t belong or fit in.
So, that brings me back around to what I originally started talking about. Misfits.
At a recent festival, I had a customer walk by and when she saw rosaries , she stated “Rosaries!” while crinkling up her face as if she had just smelled the most foul odor. I had another well dressed , mature couple come to my booth interested in my creations, but was not only offended by my memento mori collection due to the skulls but proceeded to tell me how they were inappropriate and question me if I was a real Catholic.
A recent customer of mine whom had purchased a memento rosary turned out to be a popular Goth model on Instagram. I wasn’t aware of her being such, just that she was a very sweet young lady who I enjoyed visiting with. I didn’t discover it until she had posted her rosary and tagged us on Instagram. Through that post, I saw a video she had done on YouTube showing off her rosary and was discussing how many treated her when she dressed up in Goth outfits. I must admit that I was disturbed by the reaction she had received at Mass by others there making unkind, judgmental remarks. That video and her experience is part of what got me to thinking about my experiences with customers and being a misfit myself.
That being said (I have many more stories of incidents like that) I have been approached by many individuals who might be called bikers, goths, emos ,convicts, , the broken, the lost , heavily tattooed, etc. Many of these have been some of my best customers. More importantly, though, are the amazing conversations I’ve had with these individuals whom society chooses to label as outcasts and misfits. Do they always purchase something? No, but that isn’t important. What is important is that they feel welcome and accepted while interacting with us and they usually are more receptive to learning about the rosary with an open mind than many others I’ve dealt with. What wonderful opportunities this has presented me to share not only the rosary and Mother Mary, but the love of Christ.
Sometimes, all someone is needing and looking for is a friendly, nonjudgmental ear to listen to them and show that they genuinely care.
When thinking about outcast and misfits, my first thoughts to Our Lord Jesus.
“And as he sat at dinner[a] in Levi’s[b] house, many tax collectors and sinners were also sitting[c] with Jesus and his disciples—for there were many who followed him. 16 When the scribes of[d] the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, “Why does he eat[e] with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 When Jesus heard this, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.” ~ Mark 2:15-17 (NRSVCE)
And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, “This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.” ~ Luke 15:2 (NRSVCE)
These are just a couple of verses that quickly came to mind. Jesus came for the lost and the sick. Jesus came for the outcast and misfits. Jesus came for you and me.
Also, think of our Mother Mary, who constantly points away from herself and to her son, Jesus. If you look at some of the approved apparitions of her, she chose to appear to the simple and marginalized.
Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to a poor and simple native, Juan Diego with a message of love. In Lourdes, Our Lady appeared to a simple girl with little education from a marginalized family, Bernadette Soubirous , at a garbage dump. And, Our Lady of Fatima appeared in 1917 in Portugal to three young Shepard children with a message of hope, love and repentance. Always pointing to Christ.
Point of my ramblings – Jesus loves the misfits, and, if we’re honest with ourselves, we’re all misfits. Misfits needing the love, acceptance and forgiveness that only Christ can offer.
So, in reality I’m a rosary maker to misfits.
But, what do I know. I’m just a simple rosary maker… and a misfit