Most people blocked seventh grade from their permanent memories. There are parts I wish I could have too. The cliques. The mounds of homework and projects in Texas History class. Acting as one of the managers of the girls basketball teams. Did I mention the cliques?
But as much as I might want to block out seventh grade, I'm surrounded by things from seventh grade that even the minimalist in me hasn't found a reason to part with.
Who could forget the ever-popular Guess jean jacket?
I asked for this jacket for Christmas in 1987. Despite the fact that I had gotten a yellow Liz Claiborne purse and a Swatch watch the previous Christmas, I felt I needed THIS jacket to make me cool. Nevermind that it is actually too big for me twenty-one years after the fact. At the time, I rolled up the sleeves, multiple times, and wore it every day that the weather would permit. It's the oldest piece of clothing that I own that I could still conceivably wear. So I've kept it.
The other item from junior high is my alarm clock.
It's nothing special, especially looks-wise. But it's functional. And as the saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." So, I translate that to mean, "If it still works, don't replace it."
Other than dolls and clothes from when I was an infant and some Christmas ornaments, I don't think I own anything older than the two items pictured above. I don't think that's the result of my desire to par down but more a reflection of the fact that things don't last that long. They break. They wear out. They get too small. They look funny.
Being surrounded by short-lived items and thinking about how many people come and go in our lives, is it any wonder that people have trouble understanding the depths of God's love? That His love endures forever. That it is irreplaceable. That it doesn't have an expiration or best-used-by date. That it is unconditional.
I need to keep that at the forefront of my mind and step up and "be Jesus with skin on" to those around me. That doesn't mean that I have to be perfect. Because I won't be. I just have to be real. And present. Kinda like the jean jacket and the alarm clock, only with an everlasting message.