I come from a family of musicians. Although I am the least skilled among them, its a requirement that we all sing. We share memories and and sayings and inside jokes through songs and quips. When we pass butter and tongs getting the Christmas table set, when we peek in to whisper good morning to our children (or want to embarrass them in public!), when we ask a blessing each evening over a shared meal. . . there is always a tune in the air. Musicals are our jam- and we know all the words and hold heated convictions about every version ever made. We mark seasons of the year by which musical befits it: Meet Me in St. Louis is always for Autumn, while the Music Man is thoroughly enjoyed in the Spring. This will either endear you to us, or annoy you to bits, because we just can't sit and watch- we have to participate and sing along! With this background, it was impossible to experience childhood without Eliza Dolittle at center stage. Her story captivated me.
The cockney girl who dreamed of being a fine lady finds herself the object of a bet between two gentlemen, Colonel and a prideful linguist, who believes he can transform anyone from an urchin into something elegant, with enough skill to fool even royalty. And so begins the story of My Fair Lady. . .
Henry Higgins taught Eliza Dolittle how to pose and pretend. He fancied up her speech and walk, the rhythm of her days and with all his might squeezed out every ounce of un-refinement that he could. He never said much about who she was before, he just moved her toward being a lady , something better. And so a girl pretending, and nerves shaking and a mind racing to do everything just so was presented and passed off as something grand.
The cockney though? It bubbled there right under the surface, always ready to pop out at the wrong moment, always bringing a measure of fear to dear Eliza's outings. Would today be the one where her control would buckle? Where she would be found out for what she really was?
This was a girl who had no wild dreams for herself. Her mind's greatest imagination had been a dream of being a girl selling flowers in a real shoppe. . . never to be so important as to stand among kings, never to be noticed.
But then she put on that dress.
Heads turned. Kings called. Men and women of consequence beheld beauty in her. She had their ear and attention. She, only she, had to believe it was all true, that it was all real. That she was real. She was the last and most impossible to fool- she had to believe she wasn't the street dweller she knew she was. She had to believe she was fine. She had to believe that her clothes had transformed her.
We are, each and every one of us an Eliza. And its all true, every bit- the clothes do make the man. . . and the woman.
So what are you wearing?
What clings to your skin and sways when you move? What sashays and twirls when you dance with joy and wraps round you and tickles your cheek like the softest scarf?
I've spent far too many days wearing fear. Wearing insecurity. Wearing comparison. I leave the house hoping no one else notices my sooty parts- I've been a great pretender. And perhaps none of us can pretend quite so well as Eliza, but the beautiful part of our story- the foundation of our entire identity, is that for us, there is no need to pose. We are daughters of the King. We must be enveloped in the garment he has wrapped us in. White as snow. Sheer beauty. Loveliness. A new identity clinging to us, becoming us.
If we're really ready to dress like daughters, we must clothe ourselves in Christ.
When we put him on, we wear our new clothes forever. Never to fade or be mended, just glowing white and starched beautiful forever. No matter how tattered the girl beneath the petticoats may feel, no matter how often she wonders if she will be found out, the dress sets her before the King. Her clothes make her.
As we dive in to the foundations of who we are- who we can be as a girl who sings- let me ask you, Have you put on Christ? Do you know that your whole self is set right, your whole status and being and refinement and and beauty rest squarely on his shoulders?
Ask him to show you today where you can cling to him. Ask him to show you that you are his daughter. The daughter of a King, welcome in his court, one who may hold his attention, one who he sees as beautiful.
For reflection today- perhaps to write out, to ask God to make alive in your heart?
Galatians 3:26-27; Zephaniah 3:17; Psalm 91:4; Galatians 4:7