Saturday, 9 June 2012

Wardrobe Stories


These boots were a God-send.

It's a controversial idea. I remember listening to a clergyman on one of the rare occasions I attended chapel during my time at university expressing disdain at the idea that God listens to and responds to "petty prayers" - requests for help to find lost keys, divine intervention providing everything from car parking spaces to discounts in shops. As if God doesn't have better things to do or bigger issues to address than pandering to the self-centred wish-lists of a select few. 

I agree with him on some levels: there's little scriptural or moral support for the idea of a genie-God, overly concerned with my idiosyncratic dictates. In fact, the biblical depiction of God suggests the opposite. Those who profess to have any kind interaction with God are instructed to let His values and priorities shape their lives, not the other way around; self-forgetfulness, not self-centredness is the spiritual goal.

At the same time, there are also numerous assurances that, in choosing not to focus all our energy and resources on taking care of ourselves, we are on safe ground because God will look after our needs as we trust Him. Its a theme that echos in the Old Testament narratives of the Israelite's exodus out of slavery, right through the teachings of Jesus on materialism and contentment and on to the New Testament letters to early communities on generosity.

Bearing in mind the fact that all the boots I own have inch-wide holes in the soles, letting in water like wells in a wetland; and bearing in mind that I needed to be out and about in the rain, I personally am grateful to God for the hunch I had and the sequence of inconsequential and seemingly haphazard events that led to me unearthing the beautiful boots above in a Swedish Salvation Army charity shop (Myrorna) for a mere 175 SEK (roughly £17.50). In addition to the fact that aged, mid-brown leather boots are my all-time favourite style, there's a more basic source of delight that I've been missing out on for months now: the sheer joy of dry feet.

Even if, as the clergyman might have felt, my prayer for affordable fashionable boots with some sort of constructive social impact was too trivial to have moved the heart of the Almighty, perhaps the money raised in the purchase is the answer to someone else's "more legitimate" petition - for food, for shelter, for things easily taken for granted. Either way, I'm chalking this purchase up as a reason to be thankful.

'Wardrobe Stories' are a string of posts helping me to appreciate the clothes and accessories I own in an atmosphere where it's easy to end up taking things for granted.

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