One of the best experiences in the days when your house becomes just yours is that moment when you realize that the closet belongs wholly to you. No sharing. No things hanging haphazardly and with no real organization. Tie racks become scarf organizers. Purses and shoes reside just above their corresponding clothes.
The closet is all yours.
You hear a little hallelujah chorus, and that chorus grows into full-on thank you, Jesus, worship.
There’s been only one thing hanging in my closet that doesn’t belong there: my old wedding dress. Almost two years ago now, I pulled it out to throw it away only to discover that others were not quite ready for that step. Since then it’s just been hanging way in the back, taking up space.
Over time we’ve talked more about the dress, and my firm belief that the girls should never wear it or even use the fabric. I’m a faith person, but I’m also a bit of a superstitious person – and if they ever decide to get married I want everything associated with their day and their union to have positive energy.
Over time we’ve all become more comfortable with the idea of that dress not hanging in my closet for all of eternity. Over that same time I’ve become significantly more light-hearted, and laughed about the variety of things people do with their old dresses – everything from playing paintball in them to having a bonfire with them to mailing them to an ex’s office (now how funny would that be?).
Until recently, I had every intention of simply throwing it in a dumpster. But I happened to catch a bit of a news story last week about brides who can’t afford gowns, and I was struck by their faces when they encountered dresses they never would have been able to get otherwise.
And that made me think again about my dress, purchased from Karen Eagle on Laskin Road more than 20 years ago. A dress stored following exact instructions, and likely a dress in perfect condition.
It seemed wrong to donate a dress that was worn on the first day of a marriage that was filled with lies and ended in complete disaster. It seemed like some poor girl would start off her marriage by wearing a dress that had really bad juju, and her marriage would subsequently be destined for disaster.
And yet, what if a dress is just a dress? What if it’s just fabric, and the energy associated with it has nothing to do with its history? What if something good came from it? What if God could make something beautiful from ashes?
My late night musings became a prayer over the dress. A prayer for the next girl who will wear it. A prayer specifically for her marriage.
- May you decide each day to choose happy.
- May your partner actually be your partner, with the same values and focus on family.
- May you both keep and honor your vows, to God and one another.
- May every I love you that you speak and hear be heartfelt and full of truth.
- May you know deep in your heart that you are not a person in relation to someone else – you are whole and beloved and perfect all on your own, and in marriage you’re a whole person alongside another whole person.
- May all the dreams that are good for you come true.
- May God save you from dreams and hopes that you don’t know aren’t right for you. And then may you have the wisdom and courage to not chase that which God has saved you from.
- When dark days come, and they inevitably will, may you and your partner always look to the Light together.
- May your marriage last until death do you part.
This morning on the way to work, I stopped at Goodwill and I laughed with the young man at the center about whether or not I should take the tax deduction receipt. It felt really, really good to make that donation, to get rid of that baggage, and to free up that space in my closet and in my spirit. And yet just a few minutes up the road I started to have second thoughts about whether or not a prayer for some unknown girl unknowingly wearing my cursed dress will really make everything work out okay for her.
I know God has to be so tired of me asking for signs. I am the worst kid, always demanding: show me a sign, I just need a sign. How do I know this was the right thing?! Was this the wrong thing?
And then I looked up as the traffic light turned green and noticed the car in front of me. It’s license tag, my sign: G Is Good.
God is good.
God is good, so I can trust that the girl who ends up with that dress will be just fine.
She might be a young bride; she might be an old bride. She might be a formal wedding bride; she might be a JOP bride. She might be a first-time bride; she might be a second-time bride. Or she might just be a girl who needs a Halloween costume – and that’s a pretty fitting ending in this case, too.
To whoever ends up with the dress, may blessings chase you down.