The Stranger in the Dressing Room


I stood behind her as she twirled in the mirror.

Ghastly. I thought.

“It’s me, don’t you think?” she asked? “I mean, I think I was born to wear this!”

“Are you crazy?” I’ve never been very good at keeping my opinions to myself. “That is the ugliest, most offensive piece of clothing I’ve ever seen! It looks terrible on you and it would look terrible on anyone. In fact, it’s just wrong.”

My sister dropped her eyes for a second. I could tell I’d wounded her, but someone had to tell her the truth. Nearby stood the saleslady, a few other customers and a few others of our friends.

“How can you be so cruel,” one of them asked me. “It’s really not about you now, is it? If it makes your sister happy, can’t you just be happy for her?”

“Certainly not!” Righteous indignation filled me and I began to spew lines I had heard somewhere before. “There is absolute truth, and it is absolutely true that that dress is an abomination!”

“Excuse me.” A soft, powerful voice invaded our verbal war. “I have something for you.”

I spun around intent on putting this stranger in his place. “This is none of your business.”

“But it is my business. Be quiet.” The stranger gently set me aside and walked through the crowd of opinionated onlookers. He stepped directly in front of my sister and began to take off his outer garment.

“My dear,” He spoke as if the rest of us had disappeared. “You are beautiful. Those eyes, I remember the day I chose the color, greener than freshly dewed grass.”

The stranger was in no hurry. He held his coat at his left side and brushed my sister’s hair from her face with tender fingers. I noticed a deep scar in his palm. Who was this man?

“You are so beautiful, but that dress doesn’t do you justice.”

My sister didn’t resist, in fact she didn’t even seem to notice as the stranger slid the dress off her shoulders one at a time. Soon, she stood in plain white cotton undergarments. She looked so small and humbled, but her expression was peaceful, mesmerized actually, by this mysterious man.

“My own garment will look brilliant on you. It has been tailored specifically for you, there is none other like it in all the world.” As He spoke, the stranger slipped around my sister, draping his cloak over her shoulders, letting it fall in graceful folds to her feet. I noticed His own feet. There was a scar, just like His hands.

The woman who stood before me now was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. But it was hard to get a close look at her, because suddenly she was dancing. She twirled and laughed, as if she’d been given new life, not simply a new dress.

She stopped mid-twirl and fell to her knees.

“How well you knew me!” Tears dripped and shimmered like diamonds on her cheeks. “You knew what would make me lovely. How can I ever thank you?”

The Stranger knelt too, cupping her shiny cheeks in His scared hands. “You must tell everyone about my beauty. Promise me that you will tell them that I love them and I want to make them beautiful, too.”

(Another attempt at a parable. Excerpt from my journal after a conversation with Father.)

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