My dress was purchased at Neel’s Department Store in downtown Thomasville, Georgia. It is hard to believe that she is considered … an antique. After the wedding, my Mom had it cleaned and sealed so it could be safely stored. That box … swaddled tightly in brown paper … moved with us from home to home to home. Most often, it was stored in the top of my master bedroom closet … as if being within arms’ reach and eyesight might keep it safer. That’s what we do, isn’t it? When we want to make sure something is safe? We want to keep an eye on it.
Glory learned how to sew at an early age and Joy has already shown interest in buying clothes second-hand and then altering them so that her clothes are fully original. I have always held out hope that my dress would be worn again.
Had I had access to my own mother’s dress, I would have worn it. Her dress was short and stunningly simple … her wedding oh-so-small. I would have worn her dress simply for the sake of sentimentality. Alas, she didn’t save it so I did not have access to it.
The fact that I couldn’t wear my own mom’s dress … has probably spurred on my dream for my own dress … to be worn by my own girls.
I always dreamed that Glory would alter it and wear it
and later Joy would do the same.
Eventually, they would share it with their own daughters.
After the divorce, as I began to cull accumulation,
I asked the girl’s if they might want to wear the dress?
Neither of them wanted their own marriages to begin with a dress from a broken covenant.
At one point in the summer, I tried her on. She was nigh of zipping by only a half an inch.
I thought about how I am different … and yet … so close to the same.
Though styles change as do personal preferences, I have always thought her to be beautiful.
She has stunning lace work, beading, and sequins.
And she has a beautiful applique at the neck that is reminiscent
of a brooch or a cameo. The neckline, collar and bodice were her selling points for me.
My friend Kelly often talks about the fact that she loves things that sparkle.
She was the first to point out to me that I love things that “hang down” …
like on my backpack … embellished with trinkets and baubles.
I guess this has always been true of me ..
because almost thirty years ago, I was drawn to the beautiful droplet pearl that hung from the collar
and dangled there before that embellished, cloth broach.
All those years
sealed safely in that box
kept her well.
She was properly put away
and carefully tended through the years.
But … now what?
More than one person told me that they had burning parties.
They encouraged me to have a bonfire and burn photos, mementos
and my wedding album, marriage certificate and wedding dress.
I do not hold animosity towards my former spouse.
I am not angry with him and never have been.
I couldn’t see how that would be a positive thing
for me … or my children.
I have thought about donating her to Joy’s school for their drama department ..
or to Goodwill.
But, no decision had been made …
until I found myself in Madison the other weekend.
Elizabeth’s back deck was stacked with folk. Topics changed and moved …
when the upcoming dance rose to the topic of the conversation stack.
Sarah Beth, Elizabeth’s beautiful 14-year-old daughter,
shared that she wanted a vintage dress to wear to the dance.
So, I offered my wedding dress.
“Tea stain it, cut off the train, move around the lace, take it in …
do whatever you want.
It’s yours. ”
Because … when we let something precious go …
when we release it to someone we trust
to be used, loved or altered,
we are being brave
and we become part of their adventure.
Sarah Beth was thrilled with the offer.
I got back home and mailed my antique love to Madison
and was thankful that ….. she will be worn again!
I’m finding that I often have a vision
that is fairly accurate
but the details aren’t what I expected.
God has creatively taken my vision
and woven it together in a different fashion.
My dress will be fitted again … but not for my one of own daughters.
My dress will be worn again … but not where I had pictured.
My dress will be altered … but not by the hands that I expected.
My dress will be treasured …. but not in the way that I had dreamed.
So many dreams and visions in my life have changed through the years.
Back in 1984, I didn’t expect my life to look like it does today,
and yet I am SO thankful.
I think of the spiritual/physical parallels in my life.
My life is richer, fuller and more beautiful
than I could have hoped for.
But, like the vision I had for my dress,
God showed me that HIS vision
is much more creative than mine.
He can take my dress of antiquity,
a relic of material and netting,
my offerings of lace work, beading, and sequins …
the love for things that “hang down”
and adoration of brooches and cameos …
and He can weave it all together into something beautiful
that can be used for His glory …
though not at all in the way that I expected.
When I let precious things go
and trust God with them,
I am being brave …
and I become a part of His wonderful adventure.
I should, yes, care for things well,
protect them from harm and keep an eye on them,
but in the end,
He fulfills the dream … He brings the vision to fruition.
And His fulfillment is so much more pleasing than mine.
NOTE: If you’d like to skip forward…
the “AFTER” post is here.