Imagine a quiet, dark room. Not the kind of blackness that stirs fear and mystery, no. This feels like the shade caused by a giant oak tree, it’s alive. It’s pregnant. It’s holy and you know it. All the walls are visible through the dabbles of light those frosted, dusty windows let in, adding to the sense of security. Nothing is going to pop out at me. Nothing will hurt me. No furtive schemers here.
As your eyes adjust you notice a wardrobe in the corner of this safe space. Think C.S. Lewis. Large, but not overwhelming. Pregnant, just like the room. The thud in your heart beats your body toward the wooden mystery. Calm, steady steps lead you right up to the mirrored doors. Your reflection reminds you of your nakedness, but it feels Good. Right, even. This must be how Adam and Eve felt in the Garden. The glory of your form folds a small smile on your contented face.
Somehow the doors open, you don’t quite know how, you were busy imagining what they contained. And then you see the richness, tapestries and garments woven by Loving hands. Robes dripping with jewels and colors you haven’t seen in years. Someone spent a long time crafting these, you whisper. Wow, who had time to do this? Is it all for me?
It is all for you. Unhurried, but curious, you pull out the one that flickers like a small campfire—it’s heavy and hot to the touch. I didn’t even know this many shades of red existed, you note. A word (or words) are stitched on the back piece of the garment, running along the shoulders, but in a language and letter you don’t understand. Because you’re curious you heave it on top of your shoulders.
Red is my color, you remind yourself.
But then your throat starts to tighten and your jaw screws shut. What’s going on? Why do I feel like this? You look in the mirror on one of the wardrobe doors you slammed shut. Damn! I look good. I’m on fire! I knew I needed to try this one on first. The room starts to feel warm and small. The inspiring light that brought you such peace before now annoys you, Why is it so flippin’ dark in here?! I can’t see a thing!
Weighed down by the robe, your strong, sure body now feels fatigued, sweaty, and sick. Your reflection is almost unrecognizable, the peace your wore so proudly in your nakedness now hides under the rage. Then you see that the symbols on your shoulders and upper back are ablaze. Quickly you step out from under the woven heaviness.
Anger, the letters now read. Oohhhh, you nod. Yes, that was anger.
Respectfully and purposefully you lift the robe off the floor and hang it back up, giving it a gentle and playful pat-pat. Thank you but no thank you.
Your body has cooled, so has your heart, and now a yellow linen seems appropriate. You think you know what’s going on here. And you do.
It weighs as much as you imagine a little sparrow would, and metallic stitches embellish the hems. Same as with the Anger garment, there’s an indecipherable word along the shoulders, but it’s shorter and was sketched by a lighter hand. I can’t wait to try this one on.
Wow. You look in the mirror. The room lights up, but it’s a humble brightness, like the sun shifted through a big gap in that old oak tree and some clouds rolled away. I had no idea… Nothing in the room has changed; it’s still just a wardrobe, some old windows, a dirt floor. Thank You for this room, your voice sounds clear and strong and tender, like a tulip or the first rays of sunlight touching your holy skin in the early morning.
You notice your lightness. Yeah baby—all feather all the time. A silly laugh tumbles from your toothy grin, you stick out your tongue. You don’t care if anyone heard the snorts, because you only have space for gratitude, presence, and…JOY. The letters illuminate as you twirl around, and you catch a glimpse out of the corner of your bright eyes.
This is Joy.
For the next hour you try on the remaining garments of glory. A dirty, ocean blue robe with gray velvet trim causes tears to well up in your eyes, and your heart to sink down into a cold abyss. You detect concrete, and not the hip kind—a jail cell. Why do I feel like this? Oh this is awful. Colors fade away and you almost feel unable to remove the tapestry. I’m not sure I have the strength to take this one off… You finally do, but you need a moment to recover.
The pink one with emeralds, turquoise, and pearls made you feel like the Love Hulk you always knew you were. I LOVE this one. Love Love Love.
Finally, it’s confirmed. What you thought you knew becomes Truth. You have choice in which coat to wear and when. Or whether you need a coat at all.
Your perfect, naked reflection was everything it needed to be. These robes were crafted by a Love who wants to help you navigate each step of your journey home with as much grace and help as possible. There is a time and a season for each one. All those colors need honoring, Anger, Fear, Joy, Sadness, Love— they all need honoring.
BUT YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Because the Love that wove together each garment wove you into existence, too—using Love, free will, and divine power as the materials that would soon become your breathing matter.
You inhale. You exhale. And you strap on the garment made of crimson, blood and iron melted in—Courage.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, you remember. I have a choice in how I respond to every. single. thing, you remember. I have authority over evil and hate and envy and anger! You exclaim. I’ll just take off the coats! And vice versa, I can choose Joy and Love and Peace!
Now that you’ve learned you’re a superhuman, you confidently exit the room and enter a real Life worth living.
And it is Good.