Shawn and I recently completed an important event, the biannual swapping of the clothes. The winter clothes moved to storage, and the summer clothes now fill their vacated space in the closet. The timing of the exchange is tricky as the weather must be watched for the proper signs. If one waits till the humid air can be sliced, one is forced to wear winter clothing in a situation demanding cooler clothing, an unpleasant prospect certain to overwhelm the most powerful of deodorants.
My changeover is a cinch. A daughter left me part of her closet when she acquired her three-bedroom townhome. A couple of strolls down the hall to switch the long sleeve shirts with the short sleeve collection, and I’m done.
Shawn’s migration involves a climb to the attic with armloads of clothing which grow heavier with each step of the rickety pull-down attic ladder. She designates some items as hang-up, others as fold-up, and each type has its secure spot. Supposedly, if I do the job correctly, the clothes will need no ironing after the next season’s retrieval from storage. That goal remains on my bucket list.
In my youth I never knew there was such a thing as seasonal clothing. I wore the same clothes year round, and the addition of a jacket or a coat created the ensemble for inclement weather. I had short pants in summer, usually created from knee-less jeans, but mostly clothes were clothes. I divided clothing into two types—dirty clothes that needed changing/washing, and clean clothes replete with the fresh aroma of Downy or Bounce.
Paul as a prisoner of Rome dwelt in a dungeon and may have longed for a bath and a change of clothes. Perhaps the bouquet of unwashed bodies assaulted his nostrils as the prison guard changed every few hours. Dungeons offered meager choices for prisoner sanitation needs. Whatever the trigger, Paul’s words stir a vivid image. Dirty clothes reek and need washing. The filth must be removed to eradicate the odor.
But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices
Colossians 3:8-9 NASB
A closet filled with clean clothes offers many choices, and selecting the proper outfit demands time. Is the occasion formal? Will the venue unfold in air-conditioned comfort, or will attendees endure the swelter of an alfresco gathering? Will the selected top half and bottom half coordinate, or might each part make its own statement? When was this combination last worn, and who saw it?
Paul offers little help in fashion selection, but he penned a list of qualities donned by the best-dressed believers. Always in style and appropriate for any event these components are sorely needed in today’s world. And a group of believers can wear matching outfits with no remorse.
So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Colossians 3:12-14 NASB
I guess I’m not finished after all. I have more clothes-swapping to do.