The leather jacket, once the proud work of a skillful artisan, now lay on a heap in a secondhand store. Once stiff and full of gloss, it lays now limp and tattered. Once able to wrap itself around the handsomest of men and provide great glory, its life is now at an end. Depressed and alone, it could only reminisce about the life it had.
It was first purchased by a rich man for quite a hefty sum. Then passed down to a chauffeur, where it graced the most wonderful cars imaginable. Then, while it lay lazily across the seat at night in an unlocked car, right in the middle of its life, it was stolen. Now keeping company with a thief, it was not as happy, as a matter of fact, it was ashamed.
It was horrified at the gun and stolen cash that had been shoved in its ample pockets. That’s when it began to lose its shine. It did not get the proper care and handling as before. It was the beginning of the end. The jacket was thrown in corners and walked on, almost never hung up. It grew bitter and hard. Now with its pockets torn it still held weapons and stolen property.
The leather jacket, never thinking much about its people before now, for some unknown reason, began to like its owner. It happened one night when its companion was very cold. The owner grasped the jacket and pulled it close around his body, as he sat alone in the park.
The jacket realized no one loved the owner and the jacket was all he had. For all his crimes he never kept anything, it was all quickly gone. All that stayed was the jacket, because in its condition, it was not valuable to anyone else. The hardness and the bitterness melted away. It now felt sorrow for the person who clung to it so desperately.
One day, as weather permitted, it was taken off and left behind. It was found by a woman and child and placed in a paper bag, with other used items, for the needy.
Now here it lay.
Finally hands picked it up, assessed its value and hung it up, along with other garments. There were cloth jackets, wool jackets, and corduroy but none were leather like him. All were in better condition and all with tales to tell. Some had been all over the world. Some had graced the shoulders of famous people, but none had stories quite as exquisite or experiences quite as nasty as Leather. He listened quietly, never revealing very much, so his companions had begun to believe he’d had quite an unsavory life.
Some associated his color with bad, though it was not possible for a color to influence abilities. He didn’t care what they thought and didn’t care when they considered themselves better. Leather could not help where he had been and he could not help what he had done.
Many people came by and touched the jackets, taking them out one by one, looking them over and placing them back on the rack. Leather was quite startled when one such person flung him across his arm. He recognized this person. He had been in the park offering food to his previous owner. He was a minister.
“Oh no, God don’t let this person take me. I am sure I would not be suitable for whatever he has in mind. I have been in the worst of places and done the most despicable things. I am not worthy, let the man see my tears and tatters and place me back.”
Now God looked down at the little jacket and moved the man to lift Leather up and examine it again. As the man’s eyes fell on the rips and imperfections, like magic, they were restored. Now the jacket hung on the hanger like new. All the other jackets were amazed and were placed back on the rack.
Leather spoke to God again. “What are you doing? I am so unworthy.”
“But,” God explained, “you are exactly what I am looking for. You will be used for the people you loved the most, the people with the most need. When you have been bad yourself, you can forgive evil. Because you have been down in the gutter, you can you understand the people there. You will know where the chill is most severe, where the frost bites the hardest.”
“You were not stolen by accident. You were being prepared. And now, you are just what I need.”
“One time I came down, to understand the people and someone stole something that belonged to me, something I wrapped in leather. It was shamed and taken to places it didn’t want to go. He ripped and bruised it, thinking he had surely destroyed its purpose. Now I’m sure, he must realize, he only filled my worst need.”
Marjeana Martin BlueAngelBabie@aol.com
Marjeana Lives in Southern California. Her work appears at several Internet sites. She works as a homecare nurse but is taking time off to write a novel. Her hobbies include horseback riding and taking care of her animals. Catch her continuing series Falling Leaves at: http://www.gospelcom.net/gci/dw/