I did something incredibly stupid. I bought something I never should have bought. But instead of cutting my losses I went all in. Here’s my story.
It all started one fine fall day when I had a craving for my favorite sandwich from a cute as heck bakery named Three Tarts. I like to think the bakers are sassy women with attitude, but I really don’t know and never bothered to ask.
The sandwich itself is a masterpiece of roasted red peppers, garlic aioli, pickled red onions and a slab of hard Italian cheese. It comes nestled in a crusty bread roll they call pepper striata.
I really enjoyed that sandwich.
Next I moseyed over to the fancy lady shop next door. I had no intention of buying anything; it’s pricey and I’m cheap. I do like walking around looking at all the fine household items.
This store is a maze of small rooms. One room is completely devoted to table settings. Bone china dinnerware, crystal stemware, beaded and bejeweled napkin rings, and fine table linens that really are linen. If a polyester perm-a-press tablecloth walked in to this store, the sales attendants would shout with horror.
That’s where I stood when my eyes fell upon a glorious array of colorful crisp linen napkins, artfully displayed, dangling from clips like magpies perched upside down on a wire.
I oohed and aahed and chatted with the sales lady asking questions that surely signaled I was a serious prospect.
“How do you take care of linen napkins?” I asked.
you wash them.
“Do they need ironing?”
some people iron them, others just leave them natural. It’s fairly easy.
I recognized the lie immediately but I didn’t care. I chose a delicious shade of olive green and bought eight of my very first (and likely last) linen napkins.
I walked out with my little shopping bag, proud and excited to try them out.
That Friday night I set my Shabbat table with my elegant new linen napkins. My family didn’t notice but I was confident my finery made an impression on God. After all the Sabbath is a time to honor our Creator, and what better way than to bring out the best?
Monday is wash day.
My eight gorgeous napkins were now a stained and greasy wad of linen. I pre-treated, washed, and dried them. They were now a very wrinkled wad of linen. I whipped out my iron, popped up the ironing board and began the monumental task of getting those napkins crisp again.
It takes time to iron eight napkins.
Time well spent as it turns out. I lovingly ironed every inch of each napkin, back and forth watching the wrinkles disappear and thinking about God. I started thinking about the linen vestments the priests wore in the Temple. I thought about the illogical commandment about not mixing linen and wool. My mind continued to wander in a holy direction as I pursued perfection for my eight little treasures.
God is everywhere, is in everything, is a part of everyone – it’s true. And this I know because I felt God while standing with iron in hand capturing an unlikely sacred moment.