The Dress

One way to look at life is to see it as a continuation of stories strung together end to end like sheets fluttering on a clothesline. What may seem like a “one liner” in my mind’s eye may actually have an intriguing beginning, exciting middle and a rewarding ending in yours. Other people’s stories often have more appeal than my own and what follows is one of those. Omit for book:   (The players in this story are very close to my heart and naturally, I enjoy sharing bits of their lives with readers.  In anticipation of Valentine’s Day, which will follow the blustery days of January, I share this sweet story with you.)        ( update for book: Call it what you like. I call it diversion therapy. When I am down in the dumps doing a bit of shopping can lighten my mood. It seems to run in the family . . . )    

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Poppy Dress

“It was one of those weeks at work that left me as drained as a bathtub.  By Thursday I was tired of work and feeling the need for some retail therapy, although my small salary wouldn’t buy much more than a lip gloss. But looking wouldn’t cost me a dime, right? So looking is what I’d do as I headed to my favorite store. The anticipation changed my mood making me almost giddy. Excitedly, I perused through dozens of gorgeous garments. Each one I touched had something to draw my eye, but nothing worth the price tag. And then a saw it. Sandwiched between a bevy of beauties was a simple black summer dress with bright red poppies splashed all over it. It definitely gave me a pick-me-up from my grueling week and made me smile just looking at it. Although it wasn’t on sale yet, there was always hope that it would be in the near future and at that point I would return and buy it. My mine raced ahead of my wallet, already creating a special event in which to showcase this lovely frock.

And then, I stepped over the line. If you are a serious shopper like me, you know exactly what line I am referring to.  I took the dress with ‘Be Mine’ written all over it to the dressing room to try it on. After all, I had to see if it fit, right? Maybe I wouldn’t like it once I got it on, but you know the drill. Once we try something on it makes it that much harder to resist . . . and the argument began to play in my head ~ the same one that plays in yours and it goes something like this, doesn’t it?  No matter how gorgeous it looks on me, I still can’t afford it. But what if my size is not available when it goes on sale? Wouldn’t it be better to stretch my budget and get it now? I promise to resist shopping ever again . . . or at least until my next paycheck. Besides, wouldn’t he love it too?

Wow. It was jaw-dropping perfect! The delicate chiffon fabric floated down my curves, hugging me in just the right places. The bright colors complimented my skin tone and hair. I felt pretty and smiled back at my reflection. The argument  in my head continued in earnest, but finally common sense won out. Just finding the dress gave me the confidence boost I needed to carry me through the rest of the week. It almost made it worthwhile leaving something so lovely behind. Of course the sales clerks’ disappointed faces threatened to crumble my resolve, but I squared my shoulders and walked right passed them and out into the sunshine. But I would be back.

Temporarily my fiancé  and I lived about 2,000 miles apart due to the our career journeys, so we spent time on the phone catching up on each other’s day, trying mentally to shorten the distance between us. Casually, I mentioned  that I had stopped by my favorite store after work to take my mind off my heavy responsibilities and to enjoy the sights and textures of beautiful things. He, of course, asked if I bought something or liked anything in particular? I loved that he asked, so I relayed my interest in the perfect dress and the ‘mature’ decision not to bring it home. I would be strong. I would wait for it to go on sale. He agreed . . . maybe a bit too eagerly? I was to find out. 

A couple of days later, like being pulled by a powerful magnetic force, I found myself back at the same store again . . . just to see if ‘my’ dress was still there. To my surprise there was a sale in progress. How grand! My heart beat faster as I hustled to the rack where I had remembered finding the dress. My size was gone! I scanned through all the racks to no avail. Someone else must have purchased ‘my’ dress. Bummer! Feelings of regret filled my head as I combed the store hoping to see poppies smiling back at me but, sigh, the beautiful dress was no longer to be found.

I stepped up to the counter to speak to a clerk. There was probably zero chance of there being one in my size at another store, but I had to ask just to be sure. No way! You mean you have the dress I fell in love with in my size and you have it on hold for me? Seriously? Not bothering to question how it happened to be set aside, I happily jumped at the chance to buy it while it was still available and on sale! With the reduced price I had just enough money to pay for it. While fishing in my purse for my wallet, I caught something the clerk was saying. What? What did you say? To my disbelief the sales clerk was trying to tell me that ‘my’ dress had already been purchased and was waiting for me to return. My mouth dropped open in disbelief. The clerk smiled as she explained that my fiancé had called the store the very next day and bought it for me. How thoughtful of him. My eyes filled with happy tears.

What a guy! I was in serious shock about this amazing, romantic gesture from the man I loved. After listening to my story about the dress and from thousands of miles away, he took the time to call the store and buy something for me just to give me joy. I didn’t need to feel embarrassed as I looked around at the faces of women smiling back at me. They were equally impressed with the generosity of a man who would call store after store in search of the perfect dress to fulfill his girl’s dreams.

Immediately I called him. He laughed and said that he wanted to do something to surprise me. He knew I was having a rough week and had been racking his brain for a way that he could help. As he listened to my story unfold, he knew immediately what he would do to make me feel loved and special.

Suffice to say, I am now married to this wonderful man and he continues to nurture our love by surprising me in unique ways and with simple gestures that say, ‘I love you.’ In my heart I know that God has gifted me with a wonderful husband. In my heart I know that am the luckiest woman alive!”

So like God to give us what we need. So like God to give us not only what we need, but to satisfy the desires of our hearts.

 Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.  Psalm 37:4, AMP


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