I’ll leave the location of the sports center unspecified to protect the guilty – my fellow gym rats sporting apparel I deemed disastrous. Call it felonious fashion or what not to wear: it was bad. I wasn’t consciously critiquing, you understand, just letting my mind idle like a car with no place to go.
There was the older man on the treadmill right in front of me, perspiration gleaming off his balding head, big yellow shirt pulled down over shorts too tiny for the terrain they were intended to cover. Hot pants for the geriatric set. (But trust me, they weren’t hot. Not at all.)
On my far right there was a tall, whip-thin, red-faced young mom whose white t-shirt was soaked with sweat. As she spun and turned I had the odd sensation of watching a human barber pole in motion.
And to my left was a teenage girl on a stationary bike. As her thick brown ponytail swung aside I could see the single word embossed on her blue t-shirt: “Whatever.”
Whatever. The ultimate expression of post-modern tolerance. A word smacking of jaded cynicism and bored dismissal. I-don’t-care-and-you-can’t-make-me. The total life philosophy of a fifteen-year-old maybe.
Or maybe not. As the ponytail swung the other way, I saw the rest of the imprinting on the back of her shirt.
Whatever, it said. Philippians 4:8.
Hmm…one of my favorite biblical references. The Apostle Paul’s reminder to the people of Philippi to watch what they were thinking about.
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
BUSTED. While I was trying to discipline my body, my mind had been running amok. And it took the words on a teenager’s t-shirt to convict me.
Whatever is true, whatever
is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable—if anything is
excellent or praiseworthy—think about
So I did.
And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street.