Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pajamas and the Provision of the Lord

Some memories of childhood are ridiculous, and this may qualify, but one of my very distinct memories of young life were pajamas that were anything but comfortable.

Because our family has always heated our house with wood and because it was not uncommon for a winter's chill to settle around us while we slept, Mom and Dad always took special precautions that their children's young bodies be kept warm through the night. The problem was that the pajamas that were marketed for warmth had some fundamental design flaws.

The first problem was that the material of what was called a "sleeper" initially felt and resembled fleece but soon turned into a pilled mess of itchy nylon. Not nice.

The next problem was that a zipper ran from the bottom left foot all the way up to the chin. I can still feel the pain of that zipper catching some of my bare skin and forcing it into the interlocking spokes. Ouch!

The major problem of the sleeper was the built-in foot socks. Theoretically I could deal with a pilled mess of itchy nylon that initially resembled fleece, but the feet of those sleepers never even pretended to be comfortable. Wearing plastic on your feet to bed at night is never a good idea, especially when the plastic starts to crack and your toes start to push through the holes. I remember that Mom and Dad, in compassion for my feet, would sometimes decide to cut the feet off of the sleeper, at which point the pair of pajamas looked outrageous, but at least felt more comfortable.

My relief in abandoning these sleepers upon the arrival of the warmer seasons may now perhaps be understood by the reader. When summer finally arrived, I was given the best pajamas of all -- Dad's old T-shirts -- one hundred percent cotton, no legs, no snagging zippers, and, of course, no plastic feet. The best part about the T-shirt was that I could actually fit my whole body in the T-shirt and push with my feet against the front and stretch it to my heart's content. What freedom from winter's constricting sleeping uniform!

I have recently been picturing one of those old T-shirts from my dad that I used to wear in the joy of summer's freedom. You wouldn't think that a T-shirt could make such an impression on a young child, but I clearly remember this one shirt that was dark gray and had block lettering. On the front it said, "The A1 Team" and on the back it said, "The Lord will provide." I had no clue what the "A1 Team" meant, but I remember that I was always fascinated with the saying on the back of the T-shirt. I didn't understand what it meant, exactly, but somehow I always found it to be a comforting phrase.

It is interesting to me how many times in subsequent years, in a moment of anxiety or uncertainty, I have thought back to those block letters and that short phrase on the back of my dad's T-shirt.

When life feels constricted, and tight, and pilled, what a joy it is to remember the comfort and freedom of those true words, "The Lord will provide."