A week ago my friend Julia Murphy invited me to a FB group entitled, "Wear Pants to Church Day". I really like this lady A LOT and had a hard time deciding if it was a cause I really cared about. I initially decided that it really wasn't anything I cared about and wasn't going to participate.
I have had the blessing of living on the East Coast of the US most of my adult life. First in Manhattan and then Washington DC where women wore pants all the time. We now live in Singapore and every Sunday there was a least one woman in pants but usually multiple. It seemed very normal. So when the cause started I just figured.... Who REALLY cares what others want to wear. In my mind, women have been wearing pants forever to church.....
THEN.... I started reading all of the comments on the original FB page. I read all of the comments.... the good the bad and the downright nasty. I also read commentary from women I really cared about who fell on both sides of the controversy (as that is what it had become).
My mind was changed by the commentary. I was so surprised that such a small act could illicit such nasty responses and personal attacks. I realized I do really care about women's ability to wear pants to church if they want to. I, personally, want the choice. I really do think that it is a cultural norm that deserves to be challenged.... So that ALL feel comfortable and welcome.
I made the decision in the middle of the week that I WOULD lend my support to the cause of inclusion. I fretted about what my husband would say (he is currently the acting bishop of the ward) and I worried about what my three girls would say. I told my husband Saturday morning that I was wearing pants on Sunday and his response was , "SO?"
As I entered the church today I felt so proud and excited. As soon as I got there I encountered a sister from a congregation in New Delhi India. She had pants on! I am not sure if my pants wearing made her feel any more welcome.... But I sure hope so.
I also had many sisters come up and say they wish they too had worn their pants :)
My favorite response is from Astrid when I emailed her and asked her to participate with me. She is one of the women the I really look up to in our ward. She has a rich spiritual life and follows her own unique path, confidently. She said:
"I have worn pants to church many times--ao dai (Viatnamese dress being sported by Angela on the left), regular black pants, Indian shalwar kameez. People who get freaked by women wearing pants to church should get a life ..."
I felt a wonderful spirit today as I worshiped with all of my sisters. I felt proud that I was able to lend my voice to making room for all my sisters (dress and pant wearing) in the gospel.
The best part of my day..... My girls didn't even ask questions about what I was wearing! We are making progress if the next generation considers it a NON issue!
Angela, Astrid, Me, Sarah - in our Sunday Best!
Mateo and Spencer sporting purple shirts!
My new friend Honey Rai!