It's Easter weekend, and this year that feels more significant than it has in a while.
A few weeks ago I bought a ring - gold coloured, if not actually gold. It caught my eye in one of my go-to secondhand shops near Goodge Street, and - magpie like - I had to have it. Not because it's a pretty ring, although I think we can agree that it is. I had to have it because I was feeling utterly miserable, burnt out and jaded. An unfortunate sequence of events had just led to me being signed off work for a week on stress related sick-leave and I was starting to do the hard work of putting myself back together. The ring was a symbol for me - a reminder of something I read a while back. It reminded me of a beautiful letter of complaint someone authored and 'sent' to God a long time ago, and the hopeful conclusion that person managed to come to in spite of their pain:
But if I go to the east, [God] is not there;
if I go to the west, I do not find him.
When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;
when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.
But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
Job 23v9-11 (the Bible)
The whole of Job chapter 23 is a poetic masterclass in being honest about struggling in life and faith, but I especially love the verses above. I love being reminded that when I look for God in my circumstances and come up empty, I can still choose to trust that the place I'm in is okay and will mould me into someone I can be proud to be: "I will come forth as gold".
I wore this ring on the index figure of my right hand for days straight (despite the fact that it is ever so slightly too small). I wore it with my pyjamas, duvets piled on top of me, reading Made for Goodness by Desmond and Mpho Tutu, learning how to let go. I wore it when I felt strong enough to leave the house, strong enough to go back to work, strong enough to be better not bitter.
Truth be told, I haven't worn it in a little while. I've noticed that the "gold" is rubbing off and the ring is morphing into just another grey accessory in my stockpile of silver and white-gold jewelry. Sad times. But it makes me aware of how much I don't want that to be the case for my character. I don't want it to be said that when the pressure is on and I'm in the grind, the good things fall away and I'm revealed to be a lesser person: less kind, less gracious, less grateful, less passionate.
So I'm making some changes. I'm taking some leaps of faith to try and keep my life and my values aligned. I feel ready to share some of those things again - it feels good to "be back", to be doing more of the things I love - writing included - and drawing inspiration from the goodness that surrounds us.
Easter, to me, encapsulates the miracle of empowerment and second chances. Beginning over, bravery winning out over fear and discouragement, building on a foundation of love and security that Someone Else laid for us.
It's time for resurrection. And it feels so, so good.
'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.