I held it in my hands. The checkered blue pattern was familiar, but the lines were blending into each other. There were holes in the elbows and another near the tail. I pushed my face into the soft fabric and smelled the faded memories.
I can’t get rid of this shirt.
It was one of those medium-weight shirts, a wool Pendleton that I’ve had for 20 years. It’s the kind you wear on a cool autumn evening or a spring day when the sun beats down on the streets steaming from the melted snow.
In that shirt I had run to the store – a dozen times, probably more — to get a gallon of milk, or flour or diapers. In that shirt, I had shoveled the walk after a dusting of snow and brought in another load of wood.
In that shirt, I had held my son close after he fell off his scooter. Wrapped in its soft folds I did chores and sat around the fire trying to warm the living room. In it, I held a sad face of another son, tears soaking into its seams. Another stupid thing I said or did, trying to make it all better.
It’s worn. It’s served it’s purpose. This time, it might be beyond repair. So what if it’s old.
And as I look around, there are other things. A table with nicks from the kids, crashing trucks into the spindles. And I have a car with more miles I think than it would take to drive to the moon. There’s a worn-out hammer, the same one my dad swung for all those years.
So what if they’re old
I look in the mirror. Wrinkles formed around my eyes. I could blame the weather, or stress, or the angry stares of those who know no grace. I feel my knees, scraping together sinew on sinew. Things aren’t the way they were.
My wife put a patch on the elbow and tucked in the loose strings. Thank goodness. It could be saved. Kind of like the rest of me.
Thank goodness I have a God who loves me, and when I offer all my excuses of why he should just move on.
He says, “So what!”
In praise of the worn-out things. There’s still life left