As our younger son, Charlie, has moved into his final year of high school, I find myself unsettled by the possibility that perhaps I've failed to download all the important father/son lessons he might need. Despite this possible failure on my part, Charlie has nevertheless grown up to become a responsible, generous, humble, kind, and honest person. He plays the drums. He's good at making friends with all sorts of people. He has a quick wit and a quirky sense of humor. He can give voice to an authentic and compelling vulnerability even as such expressions hint at deep reserves of resilience underneath. Intelligent and steady, he knows when to speak up, but carries himself with a winsome reticence and quiet wisdom, as well.
Even with all this going for him, though, I wish I could teach him more stuff. Had I the aptitude to give him a wider array of life skills, I would, but he knows as well as I do that no one comes to me to learn how to fix a carburetor, skin a deer, grow vegetables, or make a prophetic stock pick. What I?m left with is to convey the lessons I?m actually capable of transmitting and then to trust they'll also carry some kind of metaphorical meaning beyond just the practical knowledge they impart. This has been my hope, at least. And recently, it sort of worked out.
I've been reading parts of a new biography about the dashing Carey Grant, whose fashion motto was ?Fit over and above everything else.? An inexpensive but well-tailored suit, he maintained, looks better even than an expensive bespoke suit that fits too snugly or too loosely. Keep it simple, he said?and on shoes, Grant's own father told him, ?It's better to buy one good pair of shoes than four cheap ones.?
Turns out, this past week, Charlie?thinking of his senior-year homecoming weekend?realized he needed a new suit. Given my stock-picking and deer-skinning shortcomings, and with Carey Grant's advice fresh in my mind, I quickly grasped this as my chance to teach my son the value of properly-tailored clothes. It also seemed just the sort of lesson that might somehow resonate meaningfully beyond what it was about. I could convey not only the notion that attention-to-detail is important, but it might also raise the subject of fit.
We have so many voices in our heads constantly telling us what we should want, what we need, and what we ought to be doing and pursuing, but most of these messages are delivered to us from people who really don't know anything about us. While it's practical to keep a bit of an eye on what others do, where they go, and how they might measure success, it's more important to find?without regard to others?what uniquely fits us, recalling that only God, our Creator, knows the true measurements of our souls. God's voice inside our consciousness is the one we ought to be leaning into to hear, and then tailor our lives accordingly.
?It's a metaphor,? I'll say.
?I know it's a metaphor,? Charlie will respond.
If you?re game for a little spiritual exercise, perhaps sometime this week, go into your closet and pull out something you consider a favorite. Something that fits you. It might in fact be a well-appointed suit, or maybe it's just an old t-shirt that falls and feels just right. Maybe it's that jacket that gives you an extra measure of confidence or the sweater you got a few years ago that brings out the color in your eyes. Perhaps it's the blue jeans that make you feel most like yourself, but whatever it is, think about the idea of ?fit.? Why do you feel good in this? Why does it suit you so well? What is it about you and your personality that this is the item you chose? Yves St. Laurent, who knew a little about clothes and cut, called this harmony, but let's go beyond that.
As you consider the feel and fit of that t-shirt, those jeans, that jacket, that suit?ask the same question about things in other realms of your life. What feels right and what doesn't seem to fit anymore? Does your life as it's presently configured fit your particular soul? Lean into God's voice, expertise, and knowledge of your measurements. What might you need to add, take away, or put on in order to find true harmony with how God uniquely created your particular soul? What fits you?
God - Help me find, then wear, that which is most tailored to my soul.