Clothes aren’t my thing.
There was a time when they were. When my wife and I first met, she called me “Stylin’ Steve” and I don’t think it was meant to be ironic. While I was in seminary, when the dry cleaner was located inside the grocery store and my Safeway card meant my shirts were cleaned, pressed, and lightly starched for $0.89 a piece, I usually looked crisp and clean. Two kids later, I’m a cheapskate who is a big fan of the LL Bean Wrinkle Free collection. Still, I pulled on my Dockers this morning, the one’s that seemed like they fit well on Monday, and realized that maybe they more closely resemble Hammer Pants than dress khakis. Maybe clothes are more my thing than I’d like to admit.
This week for The 7 Experiment, we were challenged to only wear seven articles of clothing this week. After three or four different list adjustments before Monday morning, I finally settled on 1 Pair of Dockers, 1 Pair of Jeans, 1 Clergy Shirt (Black for those who are wondering), 1 Wrinkle Free Button Down, Shoes (3 pair – running, black dress, and brown deck), Long-Sleeve Winter Light’s at Beckwith T-Shirt, and a black fleece. Free items were socks and underwear, and I cheated by wearing a belt (3 actually: black and brown dress and brown casual) Maybe clothes are more my thing that I’d like to admit.
I also cheated on Friday and Saturday mornings. Thanks to a treadmill and blinds on the windows, I had been able to run without having to add a workout outfit to my list, but with my mother-in-law hanging out with us Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, I thought at least a pair of running shorts was in order.
I’ll keep telling myself that clothes aren’t really my thing, and so the seven articles thing wasn’t a real struggle for me, except that in February in South Alabama, the temperature can swing wildly. This week, it ranged from 34 to 68, and being cold most of the week was an opportunity for me to pray for the homeless. For most of the US, even here in the Deep South, it has been a really bad winter, and around our region, attendance records have been set at our very limited shelters. Being cold is an inconvenience for me, but it is a life threatening situation for the most vulnerable. This week was a reminder to me of the vast luxury of choice.
I can choose between eight different sweatshirts, ten sweaters, and five weights of jacket to stay warm. I’ve got gloves and scarves. I can layer up like Joey wearing all of Chandler’s clothes.
The 7 Experiment continues to open my eyes, and some of the lifestyle changes that were started in week one, continue now in week two. I hope that as the weeks continue, I can remember that this ins’t about self-help, but about bringing the Kingdom of God to earth.
Next week is possessions.