© 2018 Bill Murphy
We often hear of skeletons in the closet, of deep dark sins and secrets hidden away, musty and dusty and, we hope, dormant and forgotten. But what of angels in the closet?
My family has one of each – and both are from the same closet!
I come from two large families, with a total of 13 uncles and aunts plus all their wives and husbands. This large collection of unique individuals has gifted me with a wealth of stories and life experiences. One of my favorite story-treasures involves my mother’s older sister, Lillie Fairchild Padget, and her husband Fred Padget.
Uncle Fred and Aunt Lillie (who everyone in the family called Sister) lived in Bogalusa, Louisiana. Uncle Fred died of a sudden heart attack in 1947, and Sister moved next door to us on Evergreen Street. Now Uncle Fred had an evil skeleton in his closet, which Sister packed up and brought to Jackson when she moved from Bogalusa. She kept it not in a closet, but in a large trunk.
Not long after settling into her new home in Mississippi, she joined Griffith Memorial Baptist Church on Silas Brown Street, near our home. And she began to sew. She made for herself a beautiful, white Easter dress.
She was oh so proud of that dress. It was of the finest silk, and rivaled the elegance of any wedding dress! That top quality garment hardy cost her pennies to make! The smooth, lily white material she already had. It was brought from Bogalusa in the trunk.
You see, Uncle Fred had been an officer in the Bogalusa chapter of the KKK. Sister made that beautiful dress, a dress to wear to church to worship and honor her Lord and Savior on the day set aside to celebrate that marvelous day He arose from the dead!
Read your Bible. Over and over again we read where God used the weak to defeat the strong, the fearful to instruct us in bravery, and the ugly as a radiant example of beauty. This former skeleton in a closet, a dark symbol of sin and shame, my dear Aunt Lillie transformed into an angelic statement of love and devotion to our Lord and Savior. I know that He looked down on that silk’s new form, and smiled.