March was not too bad. I must say I was quite successful in wearing only seven articles of clothing. Mainly, because it made life so much easier. Yes, most people react to the idea of wearing only seven things for a solid month with fear and trepidation; easy is the last thing they associate with it.
But honestly? Waking up in the morning and asking myself, "What shall I wear today?" and having the answer be, "The only clean shirt you have among the three allowed"? Totally freeing. I never had to think.
OK, I had to think the one Sunday I was preaching a sermon. I do feel like people deserve a pastor who doesn't look like she hasn't done her laundry in two weeks and wore whatever fell out of the drawer first. Still, I easily was able to stay within the seven.
I loved the freeness of not worrying about it. Just get dressed and go. There were complications. No one anticipated the 80-degree weather of a March in Chicago when we chose jeans and long-sleeved shirts. Still, I sweated on. Until the evening I fell down the steps and sprained my ankle. Hard enough to make me unable to walk for several days.
Which means, that since no one else in the house has a genetically programmed code for tossing in a load of laundry, including six of my seven articles of clothing, I had to chose to violate the seven covenant or sit in the living room naked. I really didn't think anyone wanted the latter. Although it might have been enough to motivate some laundry action.
I considered this a circumstance beyond my control and surrendered to other clothes. Although, some might say that if I watched where I was going on the stairs, it would have been completely within my control.
It all makes me think, of course, of those wonderfully wise words of Jesus, knowing as he did how much we worry about things that matter so little.
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing,yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you." (Matthew 6)
We care so stupidly much about our clothes, and our "style," and our need to put a good fashion show on for anyone who sees us. But I dare say not one person noticed that I wore only three shirts the entire month of March. No one pays as much attention as we either hope or fear. Only we put so much faith in what we look like and so little in the one who created us and called us beautiful.
Not saying we should all go around looking like we don't care. That's really another form of pride. But maybe breathing in the unalterable fact that he promised to care for us, both in terms of our needs and in terms of being crazy in love with us? No matter what we look like when we wake up?
I think I'm ready to add some clothes to that pile of things to give away we started in January. I just don't need that much.