Monday, August 18, 2008

My Shirt with Two Right Sleeves

I own a dress shirt with two right sleeves. It fits me perfectly because it was custom made for me.

It’s not that I have two right arms. I don’t. But the Rapha girl who sewed the shirt for me made a mistake in the rush to finish it during my last visit and attached a right-hand sleeve to the left side of the shirt.

This shirt is one of my favorite shirts. I wore it to a funeral today that I officiated. Nobody there even noticed. Nobody said, “Say, do you know that your shirt has two right sleeves? What’s up with that?” And if they would happen to ask, I’d tell them.

One reason why I like my shirt so much is that every time I wear it, I think of the girl who made it for me. I think about how far she has come. And it fills me with joy. No store-bought shirt has ever done that for me.

But another reason I like my shirt with two right sleeves is that it reminds me that something flawed can still be something truly beautiful. Every person that I’ve ever met (myself included) is deeply flawed. Trafficked or not, we all have some real challenges within ourselves to overcome. The reason I like working with trafficked girls is that they know that, and many are facing their challenges head on. The rest of us sometimes, to our shame, are more concerned with looking good than getting the help that we need.

I have a confession to make. When I first discovered that my shirt had two right sleeves, I was tempted to get it fixed. Then I realized that would only ruin it. So I’ll continue to wear it proudly and let it remind me of a special girl and the truth about myself.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)