Friday, October 10, 2014

closet full

This weekend a good friend is getting married.  We are making a quick trip to Maryland for a mini reunion/wedding.  So for the last couple of weeks the drum solo in my head has been beating out "go-to-the-store-buy-something-new-to-wear" over and over.

There is a myth that I've bought in to for a long time.  That the outfit I need to make me feel thin-energetic-successful is just waiting at a store for me.  Probably on sale.

But I have a closet jammed with clothes.   Some I love, like presents from my stylish, pro shopper Mom.  She takes time to consider flattering fit and wearer's delight. Some are hand-me-downs, practical pieces that are now part of my every day rotation.  Some I've grabbed, running through a store, because they were soft or a pretty color and only $6.00 on clearance. I've got lots of pieces, so many clothes and yet I'm still waiting for something else.

This summer I put a ban on more shopping.  I got strict with myself.  "Go to your closet."  I said.  "Dig deeper.  Be creative.  Stop thinking it's out there.  Find it in here."

The day of Jake's graduation, deep in my closet, I found a green and raspberry floral shell.  It was two years old, tags still on and beautiful.  I didn't have anything to wear with it.  Except a raspberry sweater that I bought a year ago and wear all the time.  Put them together with my white pants and I had a new party outfit.

A couple months later I was packing for my trip to California.  The one thing I was missing was a pair of nice, dark-ish pants to wear on the plane.  I kept thinking I would get to the store, and then found just what I needed at the bottom of my summer box, clean and folded since last year.

Yesterday I found an emerald green sweater to brighten my gray and black outfit and fight the chilly fall air. It was in a bag, bought on clearance during humid, hot days and tucked away.  It looks great with a multi-colored scarf I've had for years.

I need to trust that the closet is adequate. In so many ways.  Not just with clothes.  I find myself panicking about being equipped for my new job.  That what will make me feel thin-energetic-successful as a principal are the classes I can't take until next year, or the books I haven't finished reading, or the review I will get from my boss. The drum solo beats "you-don't-know-what-you-are-doing. You-are-in-over-your-head."

Then I look inside.  I realize that chaplain months in emergency waiting rooms with families, swallowing pat answers so I could hear their pain, is just the tool I need with frustrated parents.  Drawing out shy hospice patients is surprisingly not that different from drawing out shy 6th graders.  Plotting a sermon series uses many of the same skills that creating an art curriculum takes.  And leading an interdisciplinary team is a lot like leading a faculty meeting.

When I start to freak out I have to get strict with myself. "Dig deeper.  Be creative.  Stop thinking it's all out there.  Find it in here." I may be a brand new principal, and I can't wait to have more experience, but there are some good things in the closet.

I think about Elijah, looking for God outside of the cave, in the wind and fire and earthquake.  But God was inside the cave, Elijah's closet, whispering quietly to him.

So it's back in the closet for me.  To listen to God's quiet voice, to trust in my journey, and right now to find something to wear with a purple lacy J Crew skirt for the wedding.


  1. erin, so well writren and so true, you have so many gifts, talents, dkills, and experiences, we couldn't have founf antone better suited! can't wait to see what you pull out next!

  2. Loving the transition from the adequate closet to the sense of plenty within you, just beautiful. Seriously this needs to be in a book. Do I sound like a broken record?!

  3. Ah--I love this. I love how you've made this job as principal your own--brought "Erin" to the job description in such a personalized way. And I love how your journey has prepared you for your current task. It's a big one--and you're handling it splendidly. The only failure? Not nearly enough time with ME. :)