An Invitation to a Pilgrimage: Managing Abundance and Choice

An Invitation to a Pilgrimage: Managing Abundance and Choice

Nowadays, most of us clothe our households not by making clothes but by purchasing them. This does not necessarily make the job easier. In households where money is scarce, it can be a real scramble, come winter, to see that every member of the household has a warm coat and boots. In households where money is plentiful, at least in relative terms, the challenges are often related more to managing abundance and choice. We may have more clothes than we know what to do with, as our bulging closets testify, and yet we may be tempted to come home with still more.

Where does this temptation come from? Why do people shop for clothes when they are pressed for room for the clothes they already have? Shopping for clothing, as for other things, has in many instances come to resemble a kind of dazzling buffet party in which you wander through beautifully designed and brilliantly lit halls, feasting your eyes on the displays, fingering things, musing about what you might wear them with, and then, inevitably, purchasing things—because the only way to feel that you belong at this party is to keep on buying.

As Christians, we need an invitation to a different party. Perhaps we need an invitation to a different kind of event altogether. Not to a party at which the only requirement is that we come dressed in all our finery and prepared to acquire more of it, but to a pilgrimage. A pilgrimage is not an event it is a journey. Clothes appropriate to a journey are not primarily for decoration or display. They are for comfort, for protection, for equipping. If you embark on a journey in clothing that is inappropriate or if you lug along things you don’t need, it will be hard either to get where you are going or to flourish along the way.

from Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life
by Margaret Kim Peterson


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