Lifting the lids from our gifts at the same time, my sister and I had identical reactions. We both laughed at the obvious mistake, and then traded boxes with each other. Mine was a pink plaid skirt, hers was the same skirt in blue plaid.
Let me explain; our mother insisted on sewing all of our clothes when we were growing up, it only made sense economically. She purchased one, or some years two patterns, several assorted fabrics and she would sew all summer long. The sad thing is, I was such a geek I wore them. My younger sister, on the other hand, would leave the house in one of her home-made dresses and a very long coat, go to a friend’s house and borrow something presentable to wear to school that day. She was fashion forward, I was oblivious. Hey, it covered my body, isn’t that what mattered?
My mother was a fair seamstress. Nothing fancy, not like my friend Cindy’s mom who was a serious seamstress. She made Cindy beautiful designer-like clothing, originals that even I envied, me who knew nothing of fashion. The sad thing is I still don’t, but I’ll save that for another story, it will make you weep.
The one thing that was consistent was that our home-made dresses were always the same colors. (I’m giving away my age here, but when I went to school, girls were required to wear dresses, every day.) My sister’s dresses were always pink and mine were always blue. Always, there was never an exception.
My sister was a girlie girl. Very feminine, she spent hours in front of the mirror re-inventing herself, practicing poses, fixing and re-fixing her hair, trying new make-up tricks. Me on the other hand, I was usually outside doing something more worthy of my time, like skateboarding. It made sense to me that my Mom always gave her the pink and me the blue. Pink was a girl color, it was soft and feminine like my sister. I didn’t mind, well, not a whole lot anyway. It did hurt a little that my Mom never gave me the girl color. It always made me feel like my sister was her favorite.
I never admitted it, that it hurt me to never get anything pink. I think I just quietly accepted the fact that mom liked my sister better than she liked me, until that Christmas Day, as adults, when we opened our skirts and I had pink and my sister had blue. For an instant I was thrilled, but we both knew it was wrong.
As we exchanged our gifts our Mom said; “What are you doing? That was right.”
“Mom, you always give me the pink and her the blue,” my sister responded in a tone that seemed to me to shout “Because EVERYONE knows that I’m your favorite.”
“Really?” was Mom’s reply; “I never realized that.” And then she mumbled; “Blue is my favorite color.”
And there it was, the lie I had embraced for all that time was exposed. Imagine my surprise to realize that all those years growing up, she was giving me her favorite color!
As adults we had grown apart, my sister and I, not that we were ever really close. I had become a Christian and she hadn’t. Another person that hadn’t been interested in my witness was my mother. In the years that followed my conversion, she and my sister had become very close, and I’m sure more than one bonding session was spent laughing about how foolish my beliefs were. So now, when it was time to give a gift, of course she would give her the blue. She was now her favorite.
Just in case you were wondering, the skirts were absolutely horrid. Even I could recognize that. My sister ‘accidently’ forgot to take hers when she left. I kept them both for many years.
God used them to teach me a valuable lesson. All that time I had been believing something that was completely untrue, and I wondered how many other falsehoods I’d embraced over the years that affected my self-image, my self-worth, even my world view.
God’s Word is the only thing we can trust to always tell us the truth. He tells me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, I am the apple of His eye, and He loves me enough to lay down His life for me. I’m glad God doesn’t have favorites.
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