Have I told you the story of Hans, the tailor? No? Well, let me begin…
Hans, the tailor, was famous through all of the lands for his skill in sewing the perfect suit. Because of his reputation, an influential entrepreneur visiting his city ordered a tailor-made suit. But when he came to pick up his suit, the customer found one sleeve twisted that way and the other this way; one shoulder bulged out, and the other caved in. He pulled and managed to make his body fit.
As he returned home on the bus, another passenger noticed his odd appearance and asked if Hans, the tailor, made the suit. Receiving an affirmative reply, the man remarked, “Amazing! I knew that Hans was a good tailor, but I had no idea he could make a suit fit so perfectly someone as deformed as you.”
We spend a lot of our lives twisting and contorting ourselves into the shape of others’ expectations – our parents, boss, spouse, friends, children, and social media feeds. We push and shove ourselves into grotesque configurations until we fit wonderfully into their comfort zones.
At some point, if we are lucky, we stop playing such games. If we are lucky, we grow up and grow into Ourselves.
This is the moment of true transformation because it’s only then that we understand the essence of our great faith traditions. At the heart of good religion is this essential truth: we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” We are made in the image of God, beautiful and complete – from the beginning, middle, and end. Our lives are about celebrating that fundamental truth and then living so fully AS OURSELVES that people see God’s artistry in and through us.
Today, when you feel your shoulders slump or your neck tightens, curiously explore if you are contorting yourself for someone else. If your head starts pounding or your stomach clinches, wonder if you are disfiguring yourself for approval. If so, simply…stop. Stop pretending to be less than who you are meant to be.
If the suit doesn’t fit, don’t wear it.
We are in this together,