I hold the cell phone between my ear and shoulder while my fingers run across stacked denim in a consignment store, a warehouse of leftovers.
The friend on the other end of the phone is talking about Jesus in a way that gives me an acute awareness of something that’s been missing. I feel like her words cut eye-holes into my soul, and she doesn’t even know it.
I ask her to repeat things. Say the verse again, the one where Jesus talks about forsaking your first love.
She steps through Revelation 2; I walk through aisles of Nearly New Town.
This is a room crowded with unwanted things, taken from overstuffed drawers and closets. These things were once new, but now, they are cast-offs waiting until someone else sees the value they still hold.
I smell the musty, attic-y scent of the discarded. I remember the stench of my own sin.
I lean against a wall back near the dressing rooms, curtained confession booths. I muffle into the phone how I fail daily. It shocks me, the way I sin the way I do, the way my two-faced heart daily forsakes my first love, Christ.
A customer turns her head and eyes me over the racks.
Confessing it out loud to my friend, I regain sight. How do I forget so easily? Here among the consigned, I listen to her talk about the cross, the place where the alert Christian always regains the thrill of her own forgiveness. Drawn to Calvary, we fall again and again — fall to the knees and fall in love — only to stand up wearing garments we could never have purchased on our own. I shake my head at the absurdity of it all: robed righteousness even for a wretch like me.
In the aisle of a small-town Iowa consignment shop, I remember it once again. I remember what grace really is: I get to go where I don’t deserve to go, while wearing someone else’s clothes.
I pull an old coat from a hanger, and slip it over my shoulders. This one fits.
Photo submitted as part of The High Calling’s Photo-Play, in which we are asked to experiment with contre-jour, turning the camera toward the light and positioning your subject between the camera and the light source. Writing in community with Michelle and L.L. …