After all the waiting and wishing, we were pleased when a nice young man asked her, in some elaborately creative way, to be his date. But with the invitation came new concerns--finding the dress. Don't get me wrong. I loved spending time with my daughter and it was truly wonderful to see her sparkling and princess-like in the right gown, but I found that finding that dress wasn't that simple. There was so much to consider--the shape, the style, the size, the color. And, of course, the dress had to be different than anything anyone else was wearing. (No self-respecting prom date enjoys going to the dance and running into herself. I know, because I did.) Not to mention the fact that all of the aforementioned features had to be sewn into something that was modest or at least could be altered to be modest. It seemed easier to me to get all the stars and planets aligned. We started close to home and found some lovely gowns that would be perfect for other girls, but not for my daughter. We expanded our search and then expanded it again. In a last attempt to locate the dress, we drove to a larger city nearby, visiting every store we could find that had anything even remotely resembling a prom dress. One shop was especially interesting to me. I have an affinity for fabric that started in sometime in the second grade when I joined a sewing group. I love the texture, the design, the possibility. While my daughter scoured the racks, I admired the unusually exquisite fabric of some of the dresses. As I did, I came across a tag that caught me off guard. It read, "The variations in the weave and color of the cloth are not to be considered flaws, but add to the character and uniqueness of the finished garment." We didn't buy that dress, or any other at that store, but the thought-provoking label made me wonder for weeks. I knew a little something about fabric and flaws. I once worked at a fabric store and the seamstresses who visited our shop were fussy about their cloth. If the yardage had a defect of any kind, we cut it away to sell at a reduced remnant price because it was undesirable. How could this manufacturer dare suggest the opposite? Why, the label practically promoted a flaw as a selling point! At first I thought it was just a meager attempt to abdicate responsibility for selling a defective garment. But as I thought about it over time, the label was absolutely right, mostly because it applied to so much more than fabric. What if we wore labels like that? We are like fabric, cut from the same cloth, God's children, created in His image. And yet we are different, part of His grand design. We all have traits that make us unique--complete with physical attributes that we might perceive as flaws. Upon closer examination, perhaps it is those distinctive qualities that make us who we are. It would be a shame to dismiss them as imperfections because we compare them to an impossible standard of physical flawlessness that is flaunted almost everywhere we turn. We can all recognize beauty in diversity and accept ourselves and others as we understand that our differences make life more interesting and only add to the richness and texture of God's fabric canvas.
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