What to wear? In the scheme of things, it’s an unimportant decision we face every day. It’s the Christmas season, and I hadn’t worn that red sweater with a tinge of sparkle yet. Good, decision was half made. Would I wear one of my black skirts or black slacks with it? No worries, I could decide that in the morning. Little did I know it would be an “Oh Well” week.
As I rifled through the hangers trying to select the lucky black skirt, my eyes caught you – that familiar striking print – bold red roses fully bloomed with green leaves strewn amongst them on a bed of slick black fabric. Yes, you’re perfect with the sweater and for the season.
After all these years, you’re still an eye-catcher as I confess your age – 28 years. I purchased you within a year after the birth of my first son. A solid black sweater with a single red rose crocheted just off the shoulder of the v-neck accompanied you. The scarf made from your same fabric completed the ensemble.
I wore you and wore you and wore you – year after year, baby after baby – until about ten years later when the sweater suffered a fatal hole. You survived and sought out other tops with which to partner. The elastic eventually disintegrated until it no longer gathered at your waist. No problem though, for my waist had grown too.
O skirt of mine, who would have guessed that you would still be with me all these years later? Why, when the flouncy godet skirt left me after only two years? Why and how have you endured the stresses – the washings, the stretchings – time and time again? And yet you gradually drip dry when I wash you and wait for your next opportunity. This I do not understand and cannot comprehend. But you are still here, and so you continue with a different sweater. And others adore you. They do not know what you have endured.
At the end of the day, I received sad news. My great-niece’s and nephew’s 39-year old mother lost her battle with cancer. My heart was sad for her and for them. I don’t know about you; but in my earthly carnal mind, I try to understand life and times, reasons and whys, even though we’re not going to understand these things this side of heaven. As I’ve said before, I can’t figure this all out. So what do I do?
O skirt of mine – off with you! Go in the wash yet another time. Let’s see if you survive as I place you on the hanger to drip dry one more time. I wished for my godet skirt. Two days later, you were still in that spot fully dried. You survived again!
And more sad, senseless news came later that morning. All those young ones – innocent ones – are gone, executed in the comfort of their own school. They are not guilty. Why are they taken from this earth and yet I remain?
And so, I look at you, O skirt of mine, and know that you are still here and that I will wear you once again. Why? Because there is still life in you. I will step into you yet another time. I will slide you up over my hips and gather you together with a safety pin. And no one will ever know. The sweater will cover you, and we will walk slowly at first – one foot in front of the other – one day at a time.
Oh Well, indeed. We don’t understand why. We pause, pray, and reflect. And then, for those who remain, … life continues on.
“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12 (NIV)