When my first son was a toddler he had a jacket. It was a purple zip-up type jacket. I don’t recall now if it had a hood or not. He wore it everywhere and all the time. It was his most loved piece of garment. He would cry buckets if you attempted to take it away from him. It even had a nickname; he called it his ‘jackety.’
“I want my jacketyyy!” was a frequent cry in those days. Whenever it got dirty it had to be washed in secret so that he would not insist on wearing it while wet.
That was many, many years ago. A few days back we were having a discussion and he reminded me about his old jacket. We had a good laugh recalling his attachment to a mere piece of clothing. It sounds funny now, and in retrospect, there was no real reason why he should have been so attached, but he was. He has since outgrown it though. His attachment these days is more to things that have a lasting value. A jacket is not his big issue. In fact no item of clothing gets more than passing attention in his life these days.
As I reflect on those days of B. and his jacket, I reflect on these days of me and ‘my own jackety’ issues. The truth is that a good number of the things that occupy our thoughts and our daily pursuits fall into the category of a child and his purple jacket-in the long run. The stuff that we sweat over and agonise over, in the belief that they are essential to our very existence, are nothing but the illusionary comfort represented by a purple jacket in the eyes of a toddler.
We wail and lament when these things are kept from us; when they are long in coming to us or when we cannot even be sure whether or not we will have them at all. It is a purple jacket my dear friend, nothing more. The days are coming when the things we hunger and thirst for now will be nothing but a distant, albeit pleasant memory. There are things in my past that on reflection now were mega issues to me back then. I was sure my life would be incomplete if I did not have them. I took these things with me everywhere, like my toddler’s jacket and I felt torn whenever I could not have them, but now? I actually cringe when I recall some of them and wonder at the wasted hours spent in looking for my ‘purple jackets.’
Look at your life now and identify your purple jackets. That relationship that is draining you, the business venture that takes away your joy and the time you should be spending with friends and family. The gadgets that seem like an extension of you; they may be nothing but purple jackets. Years from now you may find yourself wondering, ‘was that really me?’