Lessons from the Old Cedar Chest

Discarding and leaving what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead.

To Readers: Do you have a memory of your family cedar chest? Like when your mom had you try on last year’s clothes, pinning new hems (we called that ‘letting down a hem’), and marking new seams? Share your memories.

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September Assessments

Long before there were walk-in closets, families like mine used cedar chests to store clothes for the next season. Each September dictated a visit to the old cedar chest to pull out last year’s winter clothes. For me, the cedar chest was a magic box. Clothes went it but they came out forever changed. I didn’t realize that I was doing the changing.

Assessment would be made. Soon piles of clothes would lay on the floor:

A pile for the repairs.

A pile to give away.

And a pile still too big to grow into.

. . . . . . . And that ritual of examining clothes reminds me of other assessments.

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Repairs: Mom would turn the clothes inside out to inspect the seams. Some still held. Some needed some stitching and others needed to be let out. Turning things inside out is revealing. It feels as though our country and our world is being turned inside out, seams exposed for inspection. If we believe in the promise of tomorrow, we must know that the sturdy seams will last and others will need to be mended. By us.

Hand-Me-Downs: It would be clear which clothes no longer had any use. Like outgrown clothes, some ideas need to be discarded. With thought and prayer.

Still Too Big to Grow Into: Some ideals are like the clothes still too big and in need of more growth, like Peace on Earth. Is it time for growth?

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When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.  
        1 Corinthians 13:11
Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead.
          Philippians 3:13

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