Wait, Is That My Favorite Shirt In The Trash?
I don't enjoy shopping for clothes. I've battled with my weight throughout my adult life and don't enjoy the process of trying on clothes that aren't going to fit me. When you put the two of these things together, it means that when I find a shirt that fits ok, I tend to hang on to it, probably far longer than I should. It also means that I tend to just get a few shirts and wear the tar out of them.
These special shirts then become like family to me, each one developing a fond place in my heart. I'm sure that friends of mine might even have a beer drinking game that involves which of the three or four shirts I regularly wear will make an appearance. To make matters worse, I do the same thing with jeans as well. I've got a solid rotation of two pairs of jeans and a handful of shirts. Get me to summer time and I'll throw a couple pairs of shorts into the mix too.
So you can imagine my shock when I came in to the bathroom one recent afternoon and found one of the brotherhood there in the trash can. It wasn't put out in the big garbage can in the front of the house, or even in the kitchen garbage that has a lid and might also hid the offense. No, it was right there in the little can next to the counter I walk by several times a day. It looked sad and discarded, and my first thought was to snatch it up, dust it off and put it back on the hanger in my closet. This wouldn't be the first time we played this little game in the house. I'd rescued an abandoned tshirt a few months earlier and tucked it into the back of a sock drawer...only later to have it meet it's ultimate fate when cut into some strips for rags.
However, this day was different. As I reached down to grab my little buddy, I took a good look and realized he was pretty worn out. It was the first time that I noticed that the vertical stripes in the plaid has started to break up, and you could literally see through the shirt. Was I really wearing clothes you could see through? But it was so comfy, and it didn't really require ironing if I got it out of the drying quickly and hung it up...how could I just let it go to the trash like that? But ultimately, that's just what I did. It had served me well, but a wiser voice in the house was taking a tough love stand and pointing out that it was well past it's days of usefulness. Maybe for once, I would listen.
I think it's that way with a lot of things in life. We find something that works really well for us, or fits us really well, and want to hang on to it for life. But sometimes those things are only meant to be part of our lives for a certain amount of time, and then it's time to move on. I remember as a teenager meeting a counselor at a camp from another high school that loved to play the guitar and sing the same classic rock americana songs from the 60's that I did. Every night during free time, a large group would gather around as we cranked out song after song, both of us playing, and each of trading turns singing out the songs. It was one of the most memorable weeks of my life. At the end of the week I made a comment about how sad I was that the week was over and that we wouldn't get to have our music sessions, and he said to me, "Sometimes in life that's what makes something beautiful. It's there for a moment, and then it's gone, and it was only meant to be for that moment in time."
It took me a lot of years to grasp that concept, but I see it in my life from time to time. That truth is probably the reason why I didn't pull that favorite shirt out of the trash and try to eek out another week of life with it...it's moment had come and gone. Goodbye favorite shirt, you served me well!