11
Sep
09

Old Clothes

Old Clothes 1 (smaller)

I’ve always struggled to reconcile the whole “dead to sin” thing.  How is it that a man could have the Spirit of life within him and still poison himself with death?  The Bible talks about righteousness like it’s a set of clothes.  It says that we should wear it and shed the rags that once clothed us.

 

I know that’s good.  I know that’s true.  The trouble is this-

What if you had an unrighteous jacket- it had holes and worn elbows and stunk a little, but it kept you warm (for the most part), and you decided it was time to retire this way of living.  Then, you went to your local Christian clothing store outlet and found a righteous jacket- 30% off (what a steal!)…  So you bring your new jacket home and you put it in the closet next to the old one, and the next time it snows, you open your closet and you choose the new jacket.  As you put it on and walk out the door, you smile because you remember the great deal you got on it, but on your way to the car, you notice something.

 

It’s a little cold.

You get to the car quickly saying to yourself- “Heck! It’s snowing- of course it’s cold!”  You laugh it off as you shut the car door and blast your heater.

 

The next day it snows again.  And it’s not just snow- it’s the teeny snow/ ice flurry pebble things that blow all over the damn place.  And on the way to the car the wind carries them up the bottom of your made-in-America-30% off- semi-new righteous jacket.  That’s when you really feel the cold…and you don’t like the cold.

 

You get into the car and blast the heat, but there’s no lying to yourself.  This jacket isn’t like the old one.  You remind yourself again that you’ve retired the old jacket, but the air from the vent is somehow pulling the old jacket’s smell from the new jacket… “I’ll have to start hanging them in different closets or something…”

 

It’s hard sometimes.

 Old Clothes (detail)

It’s like this sculpture I made.  These wasps, while living, wreaked havoc.  They had residence here- in this place the light now dwells, but their imprisonment could end by removing the cork.  Those dead things, they can still wreak havoc- can’t they?

 

My wife wanted me to glue the bottle shut, but I told her I couldn’t do that, because that’s not the way things are.  Sometimes you don’t even notice them, but others… you can feel the wings rattling in your chest, and when they crawl all over each other in that bottle, they’re close to impossible to ignore.

 

This is when the temperature drops, and you think the new coat isn’t cutting it, so you pop the cork and put on the old jacket…and it feels good, but only until the stinging starts.  The venom of death returns and the burn of our own nature shakes us from the delusion.  After the wasps are loose and swarming, you pick up the new coat and look to the hem of it.

 Old Clothes (detail) 2

 

That’s when you see the fine print on your new jacket’s tag- and in the smallest of letters, it says very clearly.

 

Sometimes you’re supposed to be cold. 

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4 Responses to “Old Clothes”


  1. September 14, 2009 at 9:29 am

    I just really like you.

  2. 2 rerendered
    September 14, 2009 at 10:52 am

    I like you too Dale.

  3. 3 dave powell
    September 25, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    i like each of you way more than the other, um, likes each of you. or something. i dunno.

  4. 4 G.
    September 27, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    But I really hate the cold.

    And because of that I love to throw on the old jacket and walk around in it for a while. Because I feel like I’ve done my time with the cold and alone. I know that isn’t really true that god did a whole lot more time in the cold and alone department than I did. But I would like to just have some time with the old flight jacket, smelling of cheap booze and cigarettes.

    And then I realize that no matter how comfortable, god has some kind of plan.

    Sigh.

    What are we going to do? Should I just toss the coat, or wear the new one over the old one.

    It is one of those days.


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