I was often reading when I should have been helping. Or pretending that I was some athlete, performing for adoring crowds, or writing letters to interesting penpals that seemed to always eventually disappoint me. There were a hundred ways that I could have helped to carry the burdens if I had only been observant. Or thinking. But who is thinking or even observant, when you are in the throes of adolescence and self centeredmodular cubes store?
I remember as if it was yesterday, one Easter morning coming downstairs to find my Sweet Mama, working on the Easter meal that we would have after church. I don’t think it was elaborate and I don’t know that there was company coming, but in those days, if you had six children and you went to church on Sunday morning, you always prepared– always made food for when the long sermons were over and people were hungrycovers for samsung galaxy.
She was standing between the kitchen sink and the kitchen table, I was standing at the opening between the dining room and kitchen, by the little telephone stand under the tall, narrow mirror. And I was feeling put upon and grumpy.
“Mama,” I said, standing there in my housecoat. (In our family, you never appeared outside your bedroom unless you were clothed (if you were a boy) or at least in a housecoat (if you were a girl). “What dress am I supposed to wear today?” I knew there were no new ones for me or my two little sistersfashion men clothing wholesale.
She looked up from what she was doing, standing there in the morning light from the window. “I don’t know, Mary Ann,” she said, and I remember that she looked tired. “Maybe you can wear your blue one.” (I’m not sure of the color, here, but let’s just use “blue.”)
“But, Mama,” I protested. “I’m not sure that one is clean.” In those days, you hung up your dresses after wearing them until they looked like they needed washing.
“It’s not dirty,” she said. “I’m sure it will be okay.”
And this is what I will regret as long as I have memory. I got angry. “Mama,” I said, burst out spitefully, “you would think that if I couldn’t have a new dress for Easter, I could at least have a clean one!”
My Sweet Mama’s face!!! I was sorry the minute the words were out of my mouth. Hurt, sorrow, sadness washed over her pretty face as I stood there, miserable and ashamed.
“Oh, Mary Ann,” she finally said and her voice was quiet. “You have it all wrong. It isn’t about dresses. It’s about what Jesus did for us on the cross and Him getting alive again . . .” She may have said a whole lot more, but I don’t remember.
What I do know is that something changed in my heart at that very instant. I honestly would never again think that I needed a new dress for Easter. The whole thing of getting new clothes just never held the fascination for me again. And while there have been times when I will get a new dress on sale in the spring and decide to hold it for Easter, it hasn’t been often, and it has never been important.
And while I may use it as an excuse to buy clothes or gifts for needy kids that I love, it is never about the new clothes or the Easter Baskets or Cadbury eggs.
I DID have it all wrong.
It isn’t about dresses.
It’s all about what Jesus did for us on the cross and Him getting alive again.
And I have staked all that matters and my very soul on this one thing: