“I’m so sorry that happened to your pretty coat,” the flight attendant said, handing me a claim slip to submit to the airline. They’d have my brand new pink coat dry cleaned, she promised.
I made the mistake of sticking it in the overhead bin, where items shift during flight and greasy hinges shift your mood.
Why I even bought the coat, I don’t know. I live in the desert. I have a window of about five days a year to wear such a frivolous thing as wool. Maybe I bought it because it seemed fun to buy a pink wool coat. Maybe I just needed an outer layer of whimsy to camouflage the inner layer of flimsy.
Who knows why I bought it. All I knew was I was headed to see friends in cooler weather, and I wanted to wear my new coat. I just wanted to be pretty in pink.
Two flight attendants helped me troubleshoot. “I don’t think you should mess with it. The grease is still on the surface. If you dab at it, it will just smear it and make it sink in deeper,” one said.
“Again I’m really sorry,” the other flight attendant said. I could tell she really meant it. That was all it took.
I burst into tears. Of course the tears weren’t about smudges on a pink wool coat. The tears were about smudges on my life. The mom smudges and work smudges. The wife smudges and life smudges. How do you get those out? I think only God can do such a wholesale cleaning. My efforts to dab at tough smudges just smear them and make them sink in deeper.
I had hoped the gathering with my writer friends would be cleansing. I’m not sure I expected black streaks of grease to kick off the catharsis.
I really wanted to wear my coat, not blog about it. But maybe you’ll feel encouraged today because if you’re trying surface-level efforts and they’re not working, maybe you’ll remember that someone handed you a claim slip 2,000 years ago. He said He’d pay for the cleaning. He said He’d pay for the cleansing.
He said He’d pay for everything.
Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
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