Thursday, April 06, 2017

Lent: Belief

I don't remember when I first got this coat. It must have been when I was very young, because I've had it for almost as long as I can remember. I've no idea how someone else might have enjoyed it; for my part, I have found it to be perfectly suitable for long and meandering walks.

It didn't mean much to me for the longest time. I wore it like I was expected to, but it wasn't until I was almost 17 that I really began to appreciate what having a coat like this means, and what it could mean for me personally.

For a while I ran with a crowd that wore coats like it, but they were a fairly unpleasant group: a little snobbish, very cliquish and carrying a huge chip on their collective shoulder. I took the coat off for a while, but discovered on the eve of college that it was worth more than I had realized. Over the next four years, I patched it up, made alterations and tried to get it to fit but it never did.

I realized eventually how bad a job I had done with it, and I took it to a tailor. He didn't say anything about the alterations I'd made to it, but he took them out and mended the coat properly so that it fit comfortably for the first time that I could remember.

Some years ago, I took a bad spill in the coat, right down the rocky side of a hill, all the way to the bottom. The coat was shredded on the way. The buttons came off, I lost one of the sleeves, and a few pockets ripped open. A few people thought I'd lost it for good.

Nothing doing. Some people don't like the way it looks, or think that their coats are better than mine, which is fine. I've found that the raggedy look suits me. It's certainly not too stiff and uncomfortable, and if I'm cold sometimes, at least I know why.

The coat's got me through a lot. All those tears, those holes, those stains and those missing pieces remind me of places I've been, experiences I've had, and even things that I didn't need after all. I've worn this coat for years, and I expect I'll wear it for many more.

See you on the trails.

Copyright © 2017 by David Learn. Used with permission.

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