Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Letter Jacket

The more things change, the more they change. This is from January 13, 2013. Two of my favorite students sit next to each other in one of my Gospels' classes. On Thursday morning, when they sat down, I noticed she was wearing his letter jacket. I'd never noticed any sort of interaction between them indicating romantic interest so of course, I had to ask. They told me no. Of course, I  had to say how when I was in school, a girl wearing a boys' letter jacket was symbolic of a relationship. They told me it doesn't mean that any more. Well, I wish it still did. When I was a kid, there were things you could count on, even in high school. In my yearbook pictures, I invariably was wearing my letter jacket. I got it the May of my junior year. You could not get the jacket unless you received a letter and there were qualifications. In basketball, you had to play in 1/2 of the quarters for the season to earn your Y and the letters were handed out at the York High athletic banquet in late spring. Immediately after the banquet, which was an event in my small town, I bought my letter jacket at Toms And Sons Sporting Goods followed by my mom sewing the Y on the left chest of the coat. It didn't matter if it was ninety degrees that spring- I was wearing it to school. I never got around to giving it to a girl at my high school alma mater, which I now regret. Back then, giving a young lady your letter jacket was like her wearing your class ring, symbolic of a well-defined courtship connection, except it was more visible and often way oversized. My blue and gold jacket, with the big Y, adorned with several metal pieces indicating tennis and basketball and an oval patch, still sits on a hanger in my closet, gathering dust  and holding memories. It's sort of a metaphor for life.

But, this isn't really about letter jackets or boyfriends/girlfriends. It's about how there is such constant change in culture that less and less seems familiar. Once I knew what things, like high school traditions, meant. Not anymore. What was right before now is deemed wrong and what was wrong if not considered right is at least acceptable. I'm looking at a picture of my Grandpa Hawley on the wall above my desk. He died in 1976 and I know, he would be lost in the world of 2013. Technology has rendered my grandparents' world obsolete. But the changes in societal thinking has, in my opinion, far outstripped the mechanical/electronic/communication revolution. My students know little except rapid transformation in thought and device but to those of us who are older, there is a peacefulness to the familiar. I love this thought from chapter 13 and verse 8 of Hebrews:
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
I find comfort in the unchanging and unswerving nature of the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. When life threatens to explode or implode, our Savior is the anchor that keeps us grounded and safe from the storm, although our deliverance may be hidden from mortal sight. And so, in a world of turmoil and topsy-turvey rearrangement, we have assurance that there is always something we can depend on, a heavenly presence in our lives, even if the exchanging of a letter jacket between a boy and a girl has essentially lost its meaning. (For the record, though, I think they'd make a great couple!)

Applicable quote of the day:
God is unchanging in His love. He loves you. He has a plan for your life. Don't let the newspaper headlines frighten you. God is still sovereign; He's still on the throne.

The picture of the letter jacket is courtesy of 

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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