Thursday, October 01, 2009

Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall

I purchased this robe today.

I had been thinking about buying a robe because now I participate in worship leadership most Sundays and the seating arrangements require that I exercise great decorum in my posture. A little more cover would give me a little more leeway. But I have wondered whether such attire would be presumptuous. Some of my friends wear robes all the time when they preach; some never. I wasn't sure.

But ~ my best friend at seminary wanted me to help her look at the robes on sale in the bookstore, and we had just been in class discussing Calvin and preaching, and it seemed like it might be all right to try one on.

I was startled when I looked at myself in the mirror. "That is not me," I said. I have no idea who I am anymore, but I was pretty sure that I was looking at someone else.

"That is EXACTLY you," said my friend.

"The style is called Anna," I mused. "That might be me. I feel like a very old woman, and Anna would be a good model. I wonder what the design on the sleeves and hem means."

The saleswoman found the
Womenspirit catalogue for me, from whence comes the photo, and my friend and I read it out loud:

"Anna has an inset of our beautiful Crossroads embroidery around the hem and the sleeves. The Crossroads has much symbolism in Christianity and in the myths of many cultures. The cross has four extremities. The four points symbolize the four corners of the earth or the four winds-North, South, East and West. The center is the "Here", that place in which all things meet, and from which all things are possible. The inner circle behind the cross is the earth and the outer circle symbolizes eternity. "

"I told you," said my friend. "That robe is exactly you."

"It's perfect," said the other two women in the store.

My friend tried on several possibilites and, as we walked back to the main building after making our purchases, she told me that she, too, had wondered about her presumption in buying a stole in Israel two years ago, only a few months after we had begun seminary. One of our professors assured her that her purchase was a sign of conviction and hope.

I haven't felt much in the way of conviction or hope in a very long time.

I had just been talking in class about what it is like to move forward in response to God's invitation when belief and feelings are light years apart ~ something that I am sure most pastors experience somewhere in their ministerial lives, although probably not usually at the beginning. Most pastoral careers are not immediately preceded by catastrophe.

And now I have a robe, a robe named for an old woman who had seen almost everything and then, finally, saw and proclaimed what she had been waiting for. A woman of conviction and hope.

Who is that woman in the mirror?
I wonder.


Daisy said...

That is a great looking robe, GG. How did it feel on you? Is it comfy or scratchy..?

I would love it because then it wouldn't matter what I was wearing underneath and I wouldn't have to waste time deciding what to wear.

I love the symbols and their meaning.


Kathryn J said...

It's beautiful and I agree that it is you! You are going to be amazing and those who hear you preach are indeed fortunate.

Cynthia said...

I think it's perfect.

Carol said...

Robe is right for Robin.
Symbolism suspiciously significant.

Teri said...

This is the robe I wear every week. I love it.

Nancy said...

Who is that woman in the mirror? I wonder.

Brought tears -- thank you for your writing. Prayers continue for you and yours.

Anonymous said...

It is the YOU you are searching to find and God has gently laid it on your shoulders so you can get used to it.

It is a precursor, I think to that putting on of he whole armeor of God, an armor that still has chinks in it from teh arrows sent by life.

If I am presumptuous, please forgive me.


Quotidian Grace said...

It is a lovely robe and I'm sure you will wear it well. Good for you for buying it NOW!

Sue said...

Beautiful - simply beautiful. I have the "Martha" robe from Womenspirit and I love it. "Anna" is exactly right for you.

Mompriest said...

I love the womanspirit robes and clergy blouses. I met the owner herself at General COnvention this summer. Anyway, lovely choice for you. We only wear white or ivory...but I have my eye on a couple.

That said. Yes, it's you.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

It is a beautiful robe, and the symbolism is extraordinary.

I really related to this sentence in your post: "I had just been talking in class about what it is like to move forward in response to God's invitation when belief and feelings are light years apart." I've been in that place and may be there again.

I also liked what that professor said about a sign of conviction and hope. I believe that like faith and love, conviction and hope are not always a matter of emotion but often a matter of action.

You are a person of conviction and hope, even if you aren't aware of it.

Jan said...

Beautiful robe.

Jennifer said...

I have this robe!