It was a typical Thursday morning. I took a left turn into my neighborhood, steaming hot coffee in my cup holder, as I pondered the research report I needed to edit.
And there she was, crossing the street—in my suit.
The woman crossing the street had my old business suit on, one I recently donated in a drive to clothe women in need who were trying to support families. She was coming from the apartments near my home that house quite a few low-income families and refugees.
That suit was not inexpensive and different enough from the norm to be easily recognizable. I’d finally purged it from my closet, knowing if I hit that suit size ever again it would be an act of God. It was the first “real” ensemble I bought myself in Chicago—in the designer department at Marshall Field’s on State Street. The price tag made me gasp at the time. But, that suit saw me through oh-so-many occasions.
Weekly breakfast meetings with my colleague and the ad agency at the Ritz Carlton. After-work holiday parties at some swanky restaurant or another. Interviews in which I tried hard not to show how very nervous I was. Lunch dates with suitors I thought might be “the one.” There was at least a decade of living in that suit and it looked none the worse for wear.
The woman wearing it this morning—well, she looked magnificent. Smiling and seemingly feeling like a million bucks. I will admit that a single tear rolled down my cheek after I saw her. She gave a backward glance at her kids, who were waiting for the bus outside the apartment complex. And she headed toward the public bus stop. I’m hoping she was dressed for a job interview that she nailed.
I wanted to roll down the window and shout: “You’ll do great! That suit has never let me down.” But I didn’t, of course. The mojo was now hers. No need to remind her it was once someone else’s.
It was not easy for me to part with that darned suit. I remember standing in my closet, thinking how foolish it was that I was holding onto an item of clothing that could be bringing someone else joy. And, silly as it may sound, I wished that joy upon whoever ended up with it as I placed it in the donation bag.
So, thank you, Universe. For showing me the joy in that woman’s face this morning. Most of us don’t get to see where our good intentions land. I’m here to tell you—it was beautiful.