The Murphy's Law Dress Shirt
By Janice Price
For three years, I have been privileged to participate in the local National Night Out — a crime prevention event — both through my Neighborhood Watch Association and as an American Red Cross volunteer. The Police Department, Sheriff’s Department, State Patrol, Narcotics Task Force, Forest Rangers, 911 Coordinator, Fire Department, Emergency Medical Services, Red Cross, National Guard and other community agencies, departments and town dignitaries get together with local media and convoy — with sirens and horns blaring — to designated stopping points.
I am generally invisible, or at least unnoticed, in a crowd. My first year the local Red Cross Chapter Manager was unavailable. People would watch me park the Red Cross truck, look at my Red Cross photo ID and ask, “Where’s Martha?”
Last year Martha and I arrived together at the old Police Department. As we were leaving to begin the convoy, a police Captain smiled, shook my hand, and said, “Thank you. It was nice to see you again.” As we were leaving the first stop, the Captain. smiled, shook my hand, and said, “Thank you. It was nice to see you again.” By the second stop, he was repeating this, but his eyes were asking, Why is this woman following us? How many watch groups can she belong to?
It would probably have helped if I was wearing a Red Cross ID tag, but that was one of those Murphy’s Law stories.
The other day Martha called and asked what size shirt I wear. When she arrived, I put it on and realized I should have asked, “Do you mean in Men’s, Women’s or Redwood Tree size?" Yes, Murphy’s Law (If anything can go wrong, it will.) even applies to dressing for the occasion – or overdressing, in this case.
This year I was anything but invisible when we arrived at the Police Department parking lot. I can only imagine that I resembled Paul Bunyon’s Christmas stocking — a bright red shirt buttoned under my chin and ending just barely above my knees. A name tag was pinned on one side and “American Red Cross” and the chapter name were prominently displayed on the other.
I didn’t mind the good-natured teasing, but I was uncomfortable. I didn’t feel like a good delegate for the Red Cross with my shirt tail hanging so low. I did finally figure out how to fold the shirt over itself so I could tuck it under my waistband. It wasn’t easy, but what a relief! I felt more presentable, better able to relax and face the public as a representative of such a well-known community-oriented group.
As Ambassadors for Christ, we should be even more concerned about our attire, both in private and in public. But dressing in the Spirit begins in the heart and has little to do with clothing, jewelry, comb-over, shaped and colored hair, manicure or pedicure, collagen lips, down-to-here-eyelashes, or age-defying make-up. We should be properly dressed in modesty and humility, with our sins forgiven instead of hanging down around our knees for everyone to see. We can’t fold up our sins and tuck them away in public, although we do sometimes try.
To dress in the Spirit, we are to put on the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:14, Galatians 3:27), the new man (Ephesians 4:24); the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11), bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering (Colossians 3:12) and love (Colossians 3:14).
According to Mark Twain, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”
So, before deciding to “evangelize” the world —alienating one neighbor, friend, or family member at a time — make certain you are properly dressed in the Spirit.
© 2005 Janice Price