I encountered them for the first time about six years ago when I was having lunch at a local restaurant. They swept into the place, decked out in purple outfits of every sort, from skirts to velvet sweat suits. Purple, purple, everywhere! Perched jauntily atop each head was a resplendent red hat. My eyes feasted on the sight: plain red hats, bejeweled red hats and red hats with plumage that would make even a peacock jealous. The ladies poured into the restaurant, birds of a fine feather, color co-coordinated together.
Not knowing what I was beholding, I asked the waitress, “What group is that over there in the purple and red?”
“They’re the Red Hat Ladies.”
“And what are the Red Hat Ladies?”
“Well, have you ever heard of the Poem, ‘When I am Old I Will Wear Purple’”?
“Yes. I have.”
“It’s been turned into a club of sorts.”
“What do you have to do to join?”
“Well, you have to be over 50, I think it is.”
“I see.” I said. Hmmmmm.
I had read the poem and thought it was cute. Its main premise seemed to be that when women get older they should throw caution to the wind, wear what they want, eat what they want, and just be themselves. Cast off the garments of other’s expectations, so to speak. Live life to the fullest! Do what I want and wear what I want! I have gotten older. I will celebrate and not crawl into a hole somewhere. Good for them!
The ladies looked like they were having a lot of fun together, laughing and smiling. And I remember wondering if it would be something I would want to join later when I got, you know…older.
It’s been six years since then. Now I’ve hit that milestone. You know which one I’m talking about. Yeah, okay…PLUS some. You don’t need to know the details. And I’ve decided I’m not going to join the Red Hat Ladies. Not because I don’t think they’re great. It’s just I realized I don’t need to. I already wear purple. And it’s the most beautiful garment you could possibly imagine.
The purple is deep and rich. It has a luster that defies description. Oh, you can’t see it. Fact is, I can’t see it either. But it’s there.
I didn’t even put it on myself. The most wonderful Person in the universe put it on me. He clothed me with it when I told Him I loved Him. I asked Him to forgive me for my sins. And He did.
Because of what He did for me I am now part of a royal priesthood, a holy nation.
And you know what? I hope I bump into a Red Hat Lady sometime soon.
Perhaps I can tell her about a purple garment she’ll really love.
And a Jesus who loves her, royally.
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