Suitable, efficient, fit for purpose. ‘A good coat.’
Have you ever had a good winter coat? When you tried it on, it hugged you, made you feel loved, safe. A little too big perhaps, but that was okay, because it left you room for another layer underneath. Like meeting someone, and instantly feeling that you had known them all your life.
A good coat.
But even a good coat wears out. You may also remember that day when you reached into the cupboard when the autumn chill set in, and pulled your good coat out. And were disappointed. The cuffs not longer jaunty but frayed. The yoke discoloured with dust, the hue faded. The silk lining sagging and creased with pulled threads. The armpits whiffing of old aunts. Once a good coat, now an old coat.
We want to wear a good coat, and be a good person. But we get caught on hooks, and blackthorns, beaten by the weather. Our resolve to be a good person gets battered by tough circumstances. Our coats wear scars like we do.
Sometimes we wear our rips and tears with pride. Unashamed of our mistakes and where we have been. But mostly, we try to cover them up. With a new good coat. The old coat goes to Oxfam, or to a nursing home. We don’t like to acknowledge the other side of the cycle. The one where we decay or disintegrate.
We can buy a new coat. We can even buy ourselves a new face, even a new identity. But all of us become unfit for purpose again and again. Can we honour that, can we find a new purpose over and over?