The beautifully wrapped box sat teasingly on the table as she awoke that morning of her 16th birthday. She'd never seen wrapping paper so delicate with its satiny ivory shimmer that was painted with soft petite pink flowers and intricate green petals. The bow atop the bulky rectangular package sparkled with flecks of gold. It was tied perfectly and placed just right in the center of the box that held the gift inside.
With great anticipation her young fingers pulled gingerly at the ribbon not wanting to mar it in any way. Carefully she peeled back the sticky tape that held the edges of the wrapping paper fast. With held breath and thumping heart the box revealed the most beautiful dress she'd ever laid eyes on.
The pink and white prom dress was elegant beyond words. Scallops scooped across the bottom with layers of lace beneath creating a timeless look of sophistication and beauty. The silky sleeves puffed out in big poofs near the shoulders. The bodice was fitting and shapely and patterned with a sheer, thin gossamer. The full skirt bellowed out in a fashion worthy of any ballroom. And, it was hers.
It was a gift her mother had been waiting to give her for 16 years. A gift her mother had the tailor begin to craft from a one of a kind fabric the very moment she was born. With a rare vision and exclusive design he formed the dress to fit only her.
In her elation she raced to her bedroom to try it on. She couldn't wait to feel the silk against her skin and to spin around and around in her ballroom gown. Her fingers couldn't work fast enough to pull it from its box and slide into the form fitting bodice. But, in her fervor, she yanked too hard on the zipper and tore the seem of her new dress! Oh, how devastated she was. "How could I have been so clumsy? I must get this fixed", she thought.
In sheer desperation she entered the first shoppe she came to. Inside she went straight to the Master Baker and begged of him to help her fix her dress. "Surely you can fix it sir. After all, you create the most intricate, detailed cakes even for royalty. Certainly you can fix this tear in the seem." Master Baker pulled his hands from his batter still dripping with flour and oil and took hold of her gown. After eyeing it up and down and turning it all around but good, he finally exclaimed there was nothing he could do. He set it back into its box, ripped seem and all. Now smeared with clumps of batter, too.
More distressed than ever she went along finally stopping to beg of the Master Mechanic. "Sir, sir, please can you help me? I've torn my dress and now it's stained, as well. Surely with your knowledge and expertise you can fix my dress." Master Mechanic backed away from the noisy engine and with grease-stained fingers lifted her dress from its box. Hooking it to a pulley and hoisting it up high he went at it with many a tool that clinked and clanked as he took each one from his toolbox. After a time, with barely a sorrowful frown he yanked her dress down, tossed it at her and said it was no use. It was too torn, too stained and was no good to her now. The beauty it'd once had had faded and it was worthy of only a pile of rags, he claimed.
With heavy heart she stuffed the dress back into its box. Greased stained fingerprints donned the lacy scallops that spilled over the edges of the cardboard. Nearly defeated but still determined to restore her beautiful gown she continued on until she came across the Master Gardener. "Master Gardener, sir, if you will sir, could you please help me fix my dress? It's torn, stained and covered in grease. For certain if you have the skill to plant and to grow, then you can restore my gown." He pulled his soiled hands from the brown earth and took the crumpled gown from its disheveled box. Turning it inside out and pressing his earth stained hands on the shoulders that once had poofed, he declared that the dress was worthless and tossed it to the wayside.
Dragging the dress behind her, no longer willing or able to try to place it back into its once protective box, the rocks and gravel tore at the hem unraveling it even more than it had been. She'd all but given up when a small shoppe tucked quietly back behind all the other shoppes caught her eye. It was a simple shoppe. No fancy lettering on the door like there had been at the other shoppes. No flashing lights, no neon signs. But, what's that in the display window? A lone sewing machine.
"Of course! The Master Tailor!" The little bell hanging on the wooden door rang as she entered the simple shoppe. A man was working quietly with his back toward her. She suddenly became wrecked with guilt and embarrassment that the very dress he'd crafted just for her had become unrecognizable. She hid it behind her back and proceeded to run right back out that door when his voice sounded her name. The warmth and comfort and longing in his voice stopped her in her tracks.
"Loved one. Why have you come?"
"Oh, Master Tailor, I shouldn't bother you. You are very busy I see and my dress is not worthy of your mending. It's beyond repair. That's what the Master Baker and the Master Mechanic and the Master Gardener told me."
"I see. So these that you speak of, the baker, the mechanic and the gardener, they made your dress?"
"Well, no sir, of course not. You made my dress."
"Why then, would you seek them first in hopes that they could repair something that they had indeed not crafted with you in mind?"
"Their shoppes were close by, sir. Their signs were bold and flashed brightly on the quiet street. Each boasting of their skill and expertise and knowledge and truth. Each with a promise I was sure they could fulfill. Indeed I thought they'd be able to give me what I needed."
"Dear one, I labored night and day to create the perfect dress for you. Mulling over thousands of fabrics and endless designs, I chose the one that suited you perfectly. A design that I've given to no other. And, no other can restore it to its original beauty, but me. Now, let's take a look at that tear and those stains, shall we?"
"How do you know of the tear? The stains?"
"From my window I've sat and watched as day after day you ran to and fro looking for solutions and answers. I waited here for you, hoping someday you would come to me."
"But Master, it's so soiled. How will it ever become as beautiful as you intended?"
"It will take time, my love. But, you must continue to come see me. Every day. Come sit with me. Spend time with me. Don't pass by me for the shiny signs further down the way. Together we will fix that seam, dab at those stains and refurbish the satin, silk and lace. The finished product will be far more magnificent than even the original."
With needle in hand, he began weaving the thread through the pink fabric. One stitch at a time, she could see the tear slowly disappear.
With your very own hands you formed me; now breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you. When they see me waiting, expecting your Word, those who fear you will take heart and be glad. I can see now, God, that your decisions are right; your testing has taught me what’s true and right. Oh, love me—and right now!—hold me tight! just the way you promised. Now comfort me so I can live, really live; your revelation is the tune I dance to. Let the fast-talking tricksters be exposed as frauds; they tried to sell me a bill of goods, but I kept my mind fixed on your counsel. Let those who fear you turn to me for evidence of your wise guidance. And let me live whole and holy, soul and body, so I can always walk with my head held high.