The Shirt

Today I am wearing a shirt that I have owned for over 20 years.  It is probably the last time I will wear it.  It has been stained to the point of embarrassment, it is pulled out of shape, the cuffs on the sleeves are literally disintegrating.  It is my favorite shirt to wear around the house.  But its time has come.

It’s amazing how something so inconsequential can make you so nostalgic.

When I bought this shirt, I worked at Potomac Mills Mall.  I bought it there – at the Disney Outlet when it first opened.  I was in college at the time working part-time to pay for gas and books.  My dad was still alive.  I didn’t know what I wanted to be or who I could be.  But I never thought I would succeed or fail…I just lived each day as it came.  Don’t get me wrong – I have always been a worrier.  But it was less then.

The shirt never really fit.  I was miles too big when I bought it and it hung awkwardly on me whenever I wore it.  But I really loved it.  I still do.  There is a comfort in something you have had for a long time.  It is like a connection to someone you used to be.  Or at least someone you thought you were.

I was recently listening to the soundtrack of a Broadway show called “Waitress” – based on the Keri Russell movie of the same name – and there is a song called “She Used to Be Mine”.  The song comes at a time when the lead character is pregnant by a man she is trying to get away from and she really didn’t want to be in this position.  And she talks about how she used to be someone different.  (With apologies to Sara Bareilles for printing your beautiful lyrics)

She’s imperfect but she tries
She is good but she lies
She is hard on herself
She is broken and won’t ask for help
She is messy but she’s kind
She is lonely most of the time
She is all of this mixed up
And baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone but she used to be mine

That is how I feel when I wear this shirt.  I was a different person then.  Not necessarily better, but not the me I am now.  I sometimes wish I could go back to being her but then I realize how much I have gained since then…

I am still imperfect and I am still trying but I know a loving God who takes me as I am.
I am still good and I still lie but I know a loving God who takes me as I am.
I am still hard on myself but I am no longer broken and I know how to ask for help because I know a loving God who takes me as I am
I am still messy and I am still kind thanks to knowing a loving God who takes me as I am
I am no longer lonely thanks to knowing a loving God who takes me as I am
The old me is gone but the new me rejoices in knowing a loving God who takes me as I am

20+ years ago, I didn’t know I would be writing this while being engaged to a loving and kind man.  I didn’t know my 3 closest friends.  I wasn’t singing at all as I had quit.  I had not found the job that would fit me best.  And I didn’t know the God that loves me so.  I didn’t know how much He would bring to my life and how many doors He would open and how many He would close.  I didn’t have an identity in Him yet…but He knew and was just waiting for me to figure it out.

(And if you are interested in hearing the song above – its amazing – here is a link from the show.)



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