42 is how many she brought.
1 crocheted throw in matches-everything beige.
1 black vest with a blinged-out zipper.
2 cowl necks I will wear until they are threadbare. One in blue, one in charcoal gray.
Umpteen cotton button downs from retail stores I don’t shop at like J. Jill, Chicos, and Soft Surroundings. Places I’d like to shop, but just don’t.
Oh! And two over-sized sweatshirts with pockets that will save me countless hours searching for my glasses, phone and mailbox key.
42 shirts. It was a little like 27 dresses for full-figured girls at my house last week with all the twirling and trying on. A new year calls for a new wardrobe.
And new thinking.
Instead of dreading the walk into my closet the last few mornings, I’ve been excited about what I might be able to choose.
I’ll think I’ll wear the charcoal cowl neck and the beige throw. I’ll pick out a Premier jewelry necklace, select a smile and choose to have an attitude of expectation and joy.
No doubt, there are days we just need an over-sized sweatshirt and the couch.
But I think about my new friend Kathy that generously gave me all of these clothes.
Another mother-of-three daughters, with a passion for life and learning. A get-up and get-over it girl who tends to others more than herself. A woman who I sense has experienced equal amounts of joy and sorrow but chooses to focus on the first.
There are people in our lives who choose to give the shirts off their back to help someone else out. The shirts with the tags still on them and the shirts that have been worn in and worn well.
Those are the people it’s a privilege to be around. They are encouraging and help you to see the things you forgot about yourself, like that shirt you love that’s been shoved and forgotten at the back of your closet, the same as the unfulfilled dream you once had.
Find those friends again. They are the friends who help you find something new when the old no longer fits.
As easy as it is to love people like that, I have been thinking a lot about the hard relationships, the friends or family that have hurt us, the people we don’t see eye to eye with, political or religious opposition, our co-workers or the guy that cut off us on the freeway.
We uninvite, unfriend, flip off and block calls. But Jesus calls us to love. It’s just much easier to love the ones who love back. If we are forced to carry someone’s gear for a mile, we are encouraged to walk two.
I’m thinking if I walked the two more often, some of my own shirts might fit.