Out With the Old! In With the New!

Elegant Closet & Dressing Area

Image by sparklerawk via Flickr

I haven’t written anything in a long time… and I’m not sure how much it matters because I’m not really sure who reads this anyway… so for all I know, my Mom is the only one, and she doesn’t seem to mind my absence.

A lot and a little has been going on in my life since I last wrote a piece of genius.  I guess that’s what happens when you start a new job (school bus driver! bam!) and your social life is actually starting to look up because you’re starting to make some new friends (stick that in your juice box and suck it, loneliness!).

While there are a lot of good things going on in my life… there has also been a lot that seems to have been piling up.  I admit that I often just feel lost and completely exasperated at how my dreams don’t seem to be matching up with the reality of my life.  I have spent a lot of time dwelling in the past… wishing for what was and what could have been.  But all that dwelling hasn’t been doing anything particularly helpful for me. Perhaps it’s time to simply look at this present moment as my past, and continue forth in the direction I have been heading.  Why fight it?  What’s the use in constantly looking back when all it does is give me a good crick in the neck?

I’ve been buying a lot of new clothes lately.  It’s good because now I actually have the money needed to update my wardrobe a bit and get rid of the clothes that used to fit me when I was 25 pounds heavier (who wants those around, anyway? I’m not planning on finding those 25 pounds again! Stay away!)… but it’s bad because A) I need to save my money and B) I’m running out of room in my closet.

In order to solve the problem at least halfway, I decided to clean out my closet. And boy, it was hard.  I tend to form emotional attachments to inanimate objects… so I can’t even begin to explain how hard it was to fold up my silky black and white skirt that I wore to give my Kairos talk my junior year of high school.  That skirt was part of a pivotal moment in my life.  I had a hard time throwing away my prom shoes, because prom was so much fun and reminded me of the good ole days.  But the reality is… that skirt doesn’t fit me now, and I am never going to have another reason to wear a fancy beaded silvery shoe.  I could not part with my prom dress. I could not part with my worn down and awful-smelling Adidas gym shoes that I bought at Harrods in London.  But that green and pink polo shirt from 7th grade? See ya. Weird diagonal-cut blue wool sweater thing? Adios.  Too small? Too big?  Haven’t worn it in 6 months?  Haven’t worn it since 1999? Good-bye. Siyonara. Hasta la vista, bay-bee.

My closet now houses 80% clothes I actually wear, and 20% I might wear, but mostly keep around for nostalgic reasons.  It’s quite empty.  It’s quite intimidating.  I feel like my wardrobe is kind of pathetic and like I don’t have enough.  I feel like I may have gotten rid of too much.  Maybe I’ll wear that one black cardigan that has been worn so thin you can see through it.  Maybe I could just put a shirt on under it. Maybe I don’t have to face my future at all… maybe I could just keep pretending that I am still the high school version of myself and that I have a weaker prescription on my glasses to see the world a little fuzzier than I do now.

But maybe the empty closet doesn’t have to be so intimidating.  Maybe it represents possibility.  Maybe it represents trust in the Lord to take care of my needs, when it seems like there isn’t enough.  Maybe it means I’ll have an even swankier black cardigan to throw in there one day.  Maybe I’ll attach new emotions to new shoes.  I’ll have new adventures. I’ll keep growing (or hopefully shrinking).  My closet can look completely different 5 years from now than it does today. Maybe that’s a possibility that needs embracing.

Furthermore, I am donating my old clothes to a good cause.  There are people out there who will love my huge jeans and old coats I haven’t worn since I had braces.  There are girls out there who are going to feel beautiful in my sparkly shoes and silky skirt.  They get to make beautiful memories from my old beautiful memories.  And that’s remarkable.

Everything that happened in my life wasn’t a waste… it meant something to me, and it will continue to mean something to someone else.  But we’re all meant to keep growing.  We are designed to keep changing every day.  So now I am letting go and giving the Lord permission to really do with me what he wills.  All because I cleaned out my closet this afternoon.

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The Prodigal Sock

Rainbow socks

Image via Wikipedia

This weekend’s Gospel reading was one of my all-time favorites.  It was the story of the prodigal son… the one who thought he could do it all on his own… the one who said, “Hey pops, I’m thinking about doing my own thing for a while… so can you just fork over the money you were going to leave me when you’re dead and gone now so I don’t have to come back to collect it when you finally kick the bucket?”  I mean that takes some serious balls to ask for your inheritance before your parent even thinks about croaking.  And you know… I always looked at this story from the point of view of the prodigal son… because I obviously ask my parents all the time for my inheritance up front… you know, with how awful the economy is and all (okay… that was a lie… I’m not that terrible).  I get it. I am a good prodigal daughter.  I screw up all the time. I poorly judge situations ALL the time. Almost constantly.  To the point where I wonder if God is ever sittin up there, long flowy white sleeves rippling around in the heavenly breeze, smacking his forehead and wondering what gene he forgot to install in me before I was born to prevent such stupid mistakes.

But have you ever considered the opposing viewpoint?  That of the father?  The one whose lousy no-good son had the gall to ask for his inheritance upfront… you know… because the economy was so crappy and all.  The one who waited up every night hoping for his son to return.  I mean it’s beautiful, really. Any normal person would probably hold a grudge and say “good riddance.”  But this father never lost hope.  He RAN to his son… with open arms. I bet he did it in slow motion, too, with some grand music playing in the background while the sun was setting over that grassy meadow.

But still. I don’t get it. Why didn’t he just stand there and wait for his son to approach him?  Why didn’t he get that heart-sicky feeling we usually get when we see someone who has wronged us?

Then I had this thought.  How many times have you ever lost a sock to the dryer?  It’s a sad moment when you are done folding your clothes (while they’re still hot… it’s the only way to do it), and you matched up all your socks and balled them up and threw them in your laundry basket… only to find one with a missing mate.  The sock that went rogue… forged its own path… decided feet were not for him any longer… decided that a life in the warm belly of the dryer would be infinitely better than just hangin out in the sock drawer all day until you need a place to stick your nasty sweaty phalanges.

But then, one laundry day in the future, after weeks, months, YEARS of that poor orange polka-dotted sock laying alone and helpless in its pathetic little corner of your sock drawer, you see it. It’s orange. Spotted. It’s lookin kinda sock-y.  It’s laying there, magically, at the bottom of your pile of clean laundry.  The prodigal sock. And if you’re anything like me… you probably let out a noise of some kind at this point (I’m a squeaker, myself).  A Cheshire-cat grin illuminates your dull and aged face as you hold up the long-lost sock and victoriously cry out, “AT LAST! I found you!”  You march up to that sock drawer, pull out that sad lonely other-half, and watch the drama unfold with a tearful reunion.  The socks are cheering. The undies are jeering (but who can blame them, really, they got the short end of the stick anyway when it comes to clothing items).  Finally. Everyone has a friend.  Everyone gets stinky feet time. Everything is right with the world again.

That’s probably what God feels every time he finds one of us lost rogue socks at the bottom of the pile of flowy white robes in his dryer.  Sheer joy.  For I was once lost… but now, am found.