Well you see, I bought a dress online.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.
It looked nice!
…Black field, curving chains…
I don’t know what I was thinking.
When the dress arrived — to say it was unsuitable would be an understatement. With all the chains I looked as though I was a prisoner on a pirate ship.
I looked like I was about the walk the plank.
I looked like Harry Houdini jumping into a tank of water.
The dress was just plain wrong.
When I tried to return the dress, my computer screen showed — in the place where I was supposed to click “return” — some bold text which said:
“Hazardous Materials May Not Be Returned”.
The only thing hazardous about this dress was how it looked on me.
Of course it needed to go back.
It does seem, though, from time to time — that we all need to go back. From season to season, from life transition to other life transition, wrapped in chains or not…
We all need to be returned.
Returning a dress or a lawnmower or a box of bolts does lighten our load in life and gives back to us our money.
Returning ourselves — returning to back where we belong — back to where we ourselves came from — lightens our load as well — and grounds us — and renews us.
Now here is a story:
Years ago I had an opportunity to see the late and great Gilda Radner, comedienne and original cast member of Saturday Night Live. She was asked, in the gathering, what had really happened in the life of her friend and fellow cast member, John Belushi — who had recently died.
Gilda said, “you know how sometimes, when life gets really busy — what you really need to do is to go home and clean out your sock drawer”?…
….”well, John never went home to clean out his sock drawer”.
John Belushi, every day, went out into the fast world of charm and lights and hazards — and never really, in Gilda’s opinion, returned home to ‘clean out his sock drawer’.
We all know how this is, right? Every so often we need to clean out the closets. We need to brush the little balls from our sweaters, sew on buttons, maintain ourselves and re-evaluate ourselves, inside and out.
We need to remove the lonely socks from the drawer.
We need to return home to take care of home.
Sometimes life gets complicated — super-complicated. We are wrapped in our work, our grief, our fame — we are wrapped in chains.
We don’t know how to get out.
Somehow we have to return the dress.
Somehow we have to clean out our drawer.
Somehow we ourselves have to return.
It’s time for us to say to ourselves — this won’t work.
This sock has no match. This life has no match.
By letting go and going back we can find out who we can be.
We have to return.
We have to turn.
It is good to know where you come from.
There are hazards in forgetting who you are.
It is one thing for a dress to be all wrong — but it is quite another for a life to be all wrong.
But you can always turn.
You don’t have to end up in a tank of water.
You don’t have to walk off a pirate ship.
Check in with your sock drawer.
At the bottom of the drawer — you might find — yourself.
Go out into the air.
When you see a winding pattern of chains in the sky — let go of the those chains.
And when you go back.
There will always be a door.
The door will always open.
And behind that door — you will see the faces of those who will always love you.
No matter what.
Even if the dress is all wrong.
Even if the sock has no match.
And to never return to that….well,
it’s more than a hazard.
It’s a darn shame.