Monday, September 15, 2014

The Shirt Off My Back

(My St. Edward's shirt this evening and as it appeared in better days!)
Today was a lifting day for me after school. I try to lift six times per week including two days when I lift morning and afternoon, so I guess I have to go back tomorrow to stay on schedule. I lift at Chancellors Family Center which is about three blocks from WCS and about a mile from my apartment.(Chancellors is managed by a wonderful lady named Cindy Gooden who is a member at my congregation. I also get a 10% discount if you sign up for a membership and list me as your reference!) Chancellors has an indoor pool, a must when it gets too cold for my apartment swims, typically around the first of November. Once, I made to to the weekend before Thanksgiving outside to prove how tough I thought I was, but it's just more enjoyable in a heated facility in the winter. 

When I arrived at roughly 4:30 PM, I changed into my lifting gear which was what I wore to practice this morning along with gloves and a change of shirt. I wore a WCS baseball t-shirt this morning to basketball but I changed into my St. Edward's shirt, seen above to lift. As soon as I got to the weight room, an elderly lady who is more regular in her treadmill routine than the clock on the wall asked me if I knew I had a hole in my shirt. I very politely told her I did. After a very good workout, I picked up my keys from the front desk and Cindy asked me about the shirt and a new fashion statement I might be making. We laughed and I assured her I wasn't. She even offered to buy me a new shirt but I declined and told her the story.

You see, I had a wonderful student teacher aide for two years named Hanna McAdams who graduated in 2010. I wrote her college letter of recommendation and when she enrolled in St. Edward's which is located in Austin, Texas, she sent me the above t-shirt. I got really attached to it. In stores, people would stop and ask me if I was an alumni or if my child was a St. Edward's student. The shirt made several trips to Vietnam with me, where not insignificantly, Hanna was born. As time went by, I began wearing it when I lifted- it just felt right. And as clothing does, it began to deteriorate; first a small tear, then a bigger rip, and now a sizable hole. But I can't let it go. The lovely Hanna even graciously sent me a replacement last spring, but it's just not the same. And that's why I have to explain myself at Chancellors.

We all have stuff we won't let go of, don't we? Guys are notorious for having favorite articles in their wardrobe they wear until their wives recycle them into rags or the trash bin. I have no wife to intervene on my behalf. And it's so comfortable! But we do the same in the non-physical parts of our lives. We let old habits and attitudes and excuses linger, even though we know they need to go. Paul put it like this in Ephesians chapter 4, verses 22 through 24: 
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;  to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Now, I'm not equating a new t-shirt with holiness and righteousness but Paul uses the word corrupted which is exactly what has happened to my beloved shirt. It's more than that, though. If I just take my St. Edward's garb off and don't replace it, I'll be asked to leave! The must wear shirt/shoes signs are everywhere! I think I'll give it a couple more work outs just for nostalgia sake- you know, the guy who is going to quit smoking on New Years. It's served me well; maybe my muscles just outgrew it! New wine, new wine skins! I knew there was a parable buried somewhere in here!

Applicable quote of the day:
"Your best T-shirt should be like your bed; it just feels like you are home when you are in it."

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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