“Hey, Laura- I have this jacket, do you want it?” My jean jacket was a hand-me-down from my beautiful fashionista daughter-in-law, Heidi; She wore it in high school- circa 1990’s: The Era of Sparkly Everything, including denim. Like the skin horse in The Velveteen Rabbit whose fur rubbed off from so many hugs, the jean jacket had lost much of it’s youthful glow (glitter), but a softer, almost flannel patina remained. With just enough latex to stretch at the back, but not so much as to look like a pair of biking shorts for my arms, it was the Mother of All Jean Jackets, and I wore it everywhere. I mean, every single day. I even wore it around the house, under my apron, which explains its permanent yet subtle Eau De Bacon appeal.
It was my jacket/security blanket: Anxious in a crowd, I’d thrust my hands into its deep front pockets and silently worry the frayed strings. Frayed strings are very easy-going and endure that sort of thing patiently. It was my jacket/safariwear: Okay, I never actually went on a safari per se, but if I had, that jacket would’ve courageously toted camera, binoculars, compass and air conditioner.
One day, without warning, I slipped into my jacket and the poor thing gave out, just like that– the latex quit and I heard an undignified rip at the elbow. I stood sideways in the mirror, arm raised, hoping I could somehow rally the threads to pull themselves together and continue on, but to no avail. I performed emergency surgery, cutting off the sleeves. Recovery was quick and I wore my “new” denim vest another year, until one morning the duct tape sustaining the right shoulder had enough and said, “Seriously?” (Never buy reflective tape). A sad day, indeed. With a reluctant sigh, I retired my jacket to the Hall of Fame of favorite attire.
Many jackets have done nobly, but you surpassed them all.
Like my jacket, there are things in life I rue to relinquish: relationships, homes, jobs, ministries,-and sometimes- more subtle things like moving from the role of parenting toddlers to teens to launching adult children. Letting go is not my forte’, but when I stand before the Lord, maybe a handful of sepia-toned 3×5’s will slip from the Book of Life- photos of jackets I once wore.
Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert. Isa 43:19