Oh honeys!! PeaceBang is trying not to laugh, but really, she just MUST. As you will. Read on…
I love, love, love your site and appreciate the perspective over and over again.
Lately I’ve been experimenting with scarves and accessories to renew and colorize the bland wardrobe I thought I needed in order to be taken seriously when I was a — ahem — younger pastor. A kind-hearted parishioner noticed, and deposited a little gift on my desk last week. I unwrapped the tissue paper to find a truly awful scarf. Truly. Awful. If you had found it first, PeaceBang, you would have posted a photo on your site and called it an abomination. If you need me to describe it in absolute detail, or send a picture, I suppose I can, but would it suffice to say that the repeated pattern of [ugly colors] (but is not limited to) an [unbelievably tacky and almost supernaturally ugly design].
So my question is, what am I supposed to do now? I clearly wear scarves, and my beloved church member will be looking for this one soon. But I can’t take myself seriously wearing it — and I can’t be seen in public wearing it, lest I render insipid the very gospel I hope to preach. I also don’t want to inspire more gift-giving of the same kind. I can just imagine this lovely person saying to a room full of similar shoppers, “Rev. K just loved that [reference to tacky religious-themed design] scarf I gave her!” and then the floodgates are open.
Your advice will be much appreciated. If you need more details, let me know, but for obvious reasons, I need to remain undercover. I feel very, very guilty over complaining about a gift. I am usually a gracious receiver of people’s selfless offerings, a fruit of the Spirit that was not always mine but has grown in me over the years. I will surely write a nice thank-you to the giver of this gift, as well. It’s the wearing, or not wearing, that has me in a knot.
I wrote back to our tormented colleague,
The scarf you have been given is, indeed, an abomination unto the Lord but given with love, and thus your Cross to bear.
(I’m cracking myself up now).
Deep breath. Let’s figure this out.
I may need coffee for this.
I’ve got it!
You carry around a black bag for awhile, a black tote/purse and you put the scarf on the BAG a la French women with their Hermes scarves!! Double it if you have to and make a smart little bag scarf out of it. After that, you lay it out in your office as a sort of altar cloth and put some framed church photos of fun stuff on it (ladies baking, children at worship, etc.). Then, after a proper amount of time, it disappears. And the reason it disappears is that someone (from out of town, preferably) loved it so much you gifted it to them.
How does that sound?
And then she responded,
Yes, yes. This sounds exactly right! I especially like the repurposing of the scarf as an office decoration – slash – altar cloth. That’s perfect, as not many people spend much time in my office but this gift-giver will see her gift there.
Thank you for a creative idea. Thinking outside the box, in order to maintain the boundaries of professional and pastoral decorum, is your special gift.
SO. Crisis averted. Because you must trust me readers, when I say that the scarf in question wasn’t just a matter of “Yeesh, I sure think this is ugly, I’d hate to have to wear it” (which, I’m sorry to say, isn’t enough of a reason to NOT wear a gift scarf given with love by a parishioner). This was a matter of, “Oh my heavens, if I wear this scarf people would have legitimate reason to question my mental health.”
Just for fun, readers, this cute post on Scarf Do’s and Don’ts from All Dolled Up Blog.
And just another scarf you shouldn’t wear for any reason, ever.