The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them… – Genesis 3:21 (NIV)
The old man was sitting in a lawn chair in his driveway behind his “Garage Sale” sign. A woman’s wardrobe was neatly arranged on hangers on portable closet rods. A black cocktail dress hung alongside a lot of other dresses, evidence of a long-past social life. The only thing fashionable enough to buy was the austerely simple black classic. The rest were hopelessly dated.
Then he told his sixty-year story. Where they met. The nights she wore the black dress. How he looked at her as she slept. How he always prayed he would die before her.
Clothing is not something you keep. God knew that Adam and Eve’s best clothes were their skin. The fleshly clothing we wear is temporary. Even Jesus lived in rented garments. In death, the fabric tears.
Some garments end up at a garage sale, where old men sit in lawn chairs remembering skin’s deep love. Browsing there, I remember women who went to cocktail parties. I remember this clothing that tears too easily.
Wouldn’t you really like to not outlive all your beloveds? Jesus did. Or did he?
When we really love someone, O God, it hurts to lose them. We miss Jesus and hope he comes back soon and finds us all in our created skin, wearing the right thing to the right party with a beloved or two at our sides. Amen.
Donna Schaper works nationally for Bricks and Mortals, a NYC-based organization that provides sustainable solutions for sacred sites. Her newest book is Remove the Pews: Spiritual Possibilities for Sacred Spaces, from The Pilgrim Press.