My history with “dry clean only” clothing is pathetic and short. I usually try to check labels before I plunk down my cash, but sometimes I forget and walk out of the store with an item that’s out of my league. Those high maintenance, hoity-toity fabrics that continue to cost you money even after you pay for them are not in my pay-bracket. But sometimes my vigilance is dropped and I accidentally become the reluctant owner of a dry clean only item. Usually I wear it once, forget that it must be separated from the ordinary laundry, and only remember its requirements after I pull a shrunken baby-sized sweater out of the drier. Doh!
One time I fell in love with a smooth, fine feeling pashmina in a delicate light blue. (A pashmina is basically a shawl- for all you “non-fashionistas” out there.) It was dry clean only, but I reeeeeally wanted it and it was on sale and I had some birthday money left and I could imagine myself using it nearly every Sunday in church and I promised myself I would be so careful with it and because it was a shawl it wouldn’t get all sweaty and wouldn’t need to be dry cleaned all that often… *breathe, breathe*. I bought it. The first Sunday I wore it, it started sprinkling rain the moment I set foot outside of my car. I sprinted in my high heels to the church lobby, but I was dismayed to find several large water spots on my new pashmina. Dang! I hadn’t thought about that.
But one of the weirdest features of some dry clean only clothes is when the fabric itself is washable but the thread they used shrinks! Who would make clothes like that?! (Probably Terrorists and Nazis!) Now the entire garment must be dry cleaned or else the seams get all puckered. WHY?!?! Oh, the inhumanity of it!
Sometimes I wake up feeling like a dry clean only shirt that’s been laundered at home. I feel like one string in the fiber of my being has been pulled tight and now the whole fabric of me is puckered and wrong. I feel wrinkled in spirit and out of sorts with the world. It’s like something in my little universe is not right and it’s messing up everything else. It could be a criticism that I’m still stinging from, or a wound that I’m still licking. It could be the remorse I feel over using a sharp word to someone. It could be the embarrassment of fumbling a conversation in Spanish. It could be that yesterday I was the worst version of myself and now I don’t know how to undo the pucker I have made when I pulled too hard at something.
It makes me want to give up when I see the puckers I’ve caused. I want everything to be smooth and peaceful. I hate conflict. But in this life there will be puckers and snags. How I smooth them out is what really counts. Sometimes if I pull gently the threads will correct themselves, but if I pull too hard they might snap. This is where I need the Holy Spirit’s help. I need God to teach me how to live at peace with everyone as much as it’s in my power to do so. I need God to show me how to live in smooth, peaceful grace instead of always yanking and pulling at things. I need God to smooth out the puckers in my spirit and bring me back to a calm, quiet place.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need. He lets me rest in green meadows, he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength.” Psalm 23:1-3a