I have a pair of pants–faded brown jeans, nothing special or big-name-brand or anything about them. My husband HATES them.
I love them.
He hates them for almost the same reason I love them: they are about three sizes too big. Baggy at the hips, rear, and thighs, slipping off the waist, riding dangerously low on my hips, they look like I’m wearing my dad’s pants. They would have made great hobo pants for the most popular poor-kid Halloween costume when I was a kid. He just rolls his eyes when I come out of the room wearing them. I get it. But I keep wearing them! I’m wearing them at this moment, in fact.
I remember when I bought these jeans.
I was on my way UP in sizes, and these jeans were my next step up the rack of sizes. I hated clothes shopping, because every trip to the store reminded me of how big I was, and getting bigger all the time. There were usually tears involved in these purchases, which had become inevitable as I continued to inch my way up the scale, making the last ‘biggest-ever’ skirt or blouse (or jeans, in this case) the next to go in the pile of ‘when I lose weight again’ clothes.
These jeans, mercifully for me, were made by a brand that employs generous sizing guidelines, so even though they were my next-step jeans, I reasoned, they would remain comfortable for a while (see how, long-ingrained in my thought process, was my sense of the inevitability of getting bigger?).
And for a while that was the case, until at the top of my weight gain , I found that I had popped an outside seam here on my left thigh. Climbing into my SUV eventually became a tortuous kind of guessing game: will the button hold? Will the rest of the seam give way? Will I be able to breathe?!
(Confession: it is embarrassing beyond measure to admit these things, but to do so as open-eyed and transparently as I can is part of my journey–part of owning and embracing it, understanding and feeling compassion for the person I was, and for those who are even now living this life. You are not alone, and you are not without hope, or help!)
Which brings me to where I am: swimming, now, in these very same jeans. Why, when they serve as a reminder of the ugly place I was, do I not only hang onto them, but continue to wear them? In public?!
There has been grace, friends, in the space between the dark place where I was, and where I am now. The daylight in my pants reminds me of that grace. That’s even what I call them–my Daylight Pants!–because when I pull out the waistband, I can look all the way down my legs to my feet and the floor below.
Daylight. My feet are in a sure and solid place, and it is a new day. The line where I was, the line where I am now, each a kind of starting line for a race, a leap–a journey. I am blessed to live in the free space in between.
An artist I heard this weekend at a bluegrass festival, Tim O’Brien, sang of a kind of quiet grace that finds and holds us “in the space between the lines“. (music begins around 1:22)
Enjoy this song, friends, and may you go strong today, in grace and light.