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The inspiration of an ugly sweater

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

June 30, 2021

It’s quite possibly the ugliest sweater I’ve ever seen.

When my mother asked my niece, Emma, now age 14, what she wanted for her birthday, Emma sent her a photo of a celebrity wearing a sweater with blocks of varying colors all over it. Emma asked my mother, a talented crocheter, to make her a similar sweater.

When I received a photo of the sweater, then placed on a flat surface for display purposes, I laughed out loud. This sweater is ugly. That’s not a commentary on my mother’s workmanship; mom did a great job. It’s an ugly pattern.

Later, my sister sent me a photo of my niece wearing that sweater as they traveled around a nearby city celebrating Emma’s birthday. While I still don’t understand how she tolerated wearing a sweater on an 80-degree day, I can say with all honesty that Emma looked great in that sweater.

Emma marches to the beat of her own drum. She knows what she likes, and she really doesn’t care what others think of her clothing choices (ugly sweaters), hair styles (currently shaved) or preferred activities (quirky craft projects and watching hockey). She seems to have a pretty good idea of who she is, and she’s comfortable taking that young lady into the world.

Frankly, I wish I could be as brave as my 14-year-old niece.

I know who I am. I’m a child and follower of God. Unlike Emma, I’m not always brave enough to take that out with me into this world and be who I am without apprehension or fear.

In this secular society, it’s hard to proclaim our faith to family, friends, colleagues… When I feel called to do so, I know there’s a risk that others will think I’m weird or worse. That risk – that fear – causes me to hesitate, at best, and sometimes prevents me from sharing the Gospel at all.

This week, I was participating in a conversation with another individual, a trusted professional, when the conversation went in a direction that made me think about our faith, specifically to the forgiveness our Lord shows us and we’re called to show others. While I considered sanitizing my presentation of my ideas to remove the faith reference out of fear, I then thought of Emma. If a 14-year-old young lady has the fortitude to be completely herself, I should, too.

I talked about the faith reference with that trusted professional.

All because of an ugly sweater.

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