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Thursday, 22 March 2012

A Spotless Bride - den Boer



The week after Steve asked Angela to marry him she bought an elegant, sleeveless, full bottom, wedding dress (off the rack to save money). The store which was out West (where Angela and Steve happened to be working at summer jobs) boxed the dress and sent it to our family’s home in Ontario. When it came, I opened the box and admired Angela’s taste, but wondered about the smudge marks on the bodice of the dress and the grit at the arm holes.

I phoned the bridal store in Edmonton voicing my concern. The lady there emphasized that Angela had received an exceptional deal on the dress simply because she had agreed to purchase “as is,” stains and all.

“You won’t really notice the dirt, but if you would like you could carefully spray a vinegar and water solution and sponge off any smudges. That’s what we do in the store,” she said. “But be careful, you don’t want to leave water marks.” I decided to consult Angela before attempting a delicate sponge job. I’m not known for a light touch. I had time: the wedding was still almost a year away.

Six months later when I laid out Elizabeth’s newly-made white flower girl dress beside Angela’s dress I knew we had to do something. The wedding dress looked grey and dirty.

At this point, there was no consulting Angela who was on a student exchange program in Egypt. She wouldn’t be back until just before the wedding. It was up to me, the mother of the bride. I telephoned the local dry cleaners. They gave me a big price, no guarantees and an uneasy feeling. I prayed for wisdom.
Then I contacted a bridal-gown cleaning service. I explained my situation to the gentleman on the phone. He suggested I wash the dress myself. I was incredulous.

He assured me. “It’s probably made of polyester. They all are these days. It’s just plastic. You can’t hurt it.”
He told me to pick a sunny day with a slight breeze, fill the bathtub, add a mild soap and dip the dress in. After a good soak, I could swish the dress around and then lift it out on a heavy duty hanger. I could then take the dress outside, hang it in a breeze-way and spray it down with the garden hose. Sounded very straight forward and the price was right. I thanked him and hung up.

When I mentioned the plan to the family, they were skeptical, all except Elizabeth who volunteered to help.
Deliberately ignoring all my qualms; on a sunny, slightly breezy, spring day I filled the bathtub in our upstairs washroom with warm water and mild soap. True to her word, Elizabeth was there to help. We plunged in the wedding dress with its several crinolines, pressing it down to soak
.
Twenty minutes later we swished it up and down and then I pulled the incredibly heavy gown up on a hanger. We let the water stream into the tub for a few minutes and then Elizabeth held a large plastic bucket under the dress as I carried it downstairs and outside where we hung it on the awning support beam above the deck. Elizabeth and I took turns spraying the dress with a hose.

It dried spotlessly clean.

I telephoned the man at the gown cleaning service and thanked him profusely.

The cleaning of Angela’s wedding gown makes me think of how God is cleaning his church. He gave us straight forward instructions in His Word and sent His Holy Spirit to guide us. Our job is to discern and obey.

God said, “I am holy; you be holy.” You call out to God for help and he helps—he’s a good Father that way. But don’t forget, he’s also a responsible Father, and won’t let you get by with sloppy living. Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacred blood, you know....
Now that you’ve cleaned up your lives by following the truth, love one another as if your lives depended on it. Your new life is not like your old life. Your old birth came from mortal sperm; your new birth comes from God’s living Word. Just think: a life conceived by God himself! That’s why the prophet said,
The old life is a grass life,

its beauty as short-lived as wildflowers;
Grass dries up, flowers droop,
God’s Word goes on and on forever.
This is the Word that conceived the new life in you.
(1 Peter 1:16–19a, 22–25 The Message)


This is an excerpt from Blooming, This Pilgrim's Progress by Marian den Boer

1 comment:

Peter Black said...

Great story and well told, Marian. Raises a smile! :)
And a strong and suitable spiritual application, too.