Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Unwearable Dresses and Other Possibilities

I have on my kitchen table, at this very moment, an absolutely adorable, completely unwearable dress.

It started innocently enough.
A generous amount of leftover corduroy in royal blue kept winking at a pile of leftover decorator fabric in a simple blue and brown floral motif on beige. The decorator fabric gave it a come hither look or two and before I knew it, an idea for a retro-inspired jumper popped into my mind. I was even going to wear leggings under it, for crying out loud. I sketched and measured and constructed my little heart out, surprised that the entire process was going so smoothly, since it was my first adult dress.

My surprise was to be short lived. When I sewed up the last seam, snipped the thread, and tried my masterpiece on for the first time, I discovered a catastrophe. The bust was much too big, while the rest of the dress was much too small. I looked like a cross between an ill-dressed hooker and a potato sack.

My heart is still broken. Those two fabrics are so perfect for one another, and their ill-fitting end so tragic. Practically Shakespearean. My initial impulse was to deposit the whole thing in the garbage but I resisted the destructive urges and tried to re-vision my creation. Maybe I will be able to turn it into something I can wear. Maybe it will become a dress for Ember, or even a purse. If all else fails, I can make a scrap dress for her baby doll, who isn't picky when it comes to fit. With failure comes liberation, because new possibilities emerge from the scrap heap of my old plans.

Of course, my creative philosophizing always spills over into other parts of my life. Lately I've been feeling a bit like that dress-- out of proportion, busting at the seams in one part of my life and hopelessly inadequate to fill others. Thank God that he doesn't ditch me because I'm not yet a perfect fit. No matter how much I try to measure out my life, His design is always beyond my calculations yet somehow always exactly what I need. Like my gloriously abysmal dress, potential is inherent even in my current failures. I don't have to stay mis-matched. Every day I can seek to align myself more and more with the pattern God has laid before me. Sure, it hurts when he cuts but he keeps me stitched together and never leaves me dangling by a thread.

Had enough sewing analogies?
Me too. I'm going to nurse my bruised creativity in a cup of hot chocolate. The fabric will still be beautiful tomorrow morning and by then I'll have thought of five new ways to show it off. Long live unwearable dresses! Long live possibility!

Long live grace.

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