As a child, I was painfully shy. Whenever afraid or unsure of myself, I ran to my safe place – behind my Mama’s apron. I pulled the fabric over my face to hide, thinking no one could see or harm me. She would let me wrap and twist it about myself until I felt secure enough to come out and face whatever scared me.
Aprons – once the style of the 1940s and 1950s is once again fashionable for the homemaker of the 21st century. The iconic apron brings a bit of happiness and fun to the art of cooking and baking. Do you remember making one in home economics class? The craze is back, although pricier to make or buy, aprons are back in style.
According to the Wall Street Journal, aprons are even serving as an inspiration for a number of fashion labels. Although used over the centuries, aprons became a symbol for housewives in the 1950s and 1960s. Television moms made them even more popular.
The principal use of the apron was to protect the dress underneath. My mother had a favorite: an orange and yellow flowered fabric with a loop to fit over her neck and tie in the back. Worn thin and soft from years of use, I could almost see through my Mama’s apron. She always wore a full apron to cover her house dress.
The apron wasn’t only to protect her dress, it was a necessary part of her wardrobe, even a tool. She wiped her hands on it after washing the dishes and used it as a potholder to pull hot dishes from the oven. She used it to wipe her own sweaty brow when out in the garden, or made a pouch by holding the corners together to gather beans, tomatoes, or cucumbers. Mama’s apron became the snot rag I needed to blow my nose, or a dust cloth for a dingy end table. It had a big pocket in front to stash clothespins when she hung the clothes, keep extra safety pins handy, or keep a notebook and pencil for random thoughts. It was her multipurpose, multitask tool. And as a child, my Mama’s apron was also my safe place. I felt secure beneath that apron. I felt protected where no one could harm me.
It is said Susanna Wesley, mother of famous theologians John and Charles Wesley, pulled her apron over her head to pray two hours a day. Her apron became a prayer shawl –a holy place – in which she could escape into God’s presence. It was her hiding place of refuge and safety from the ravages of life.
As an adult, I sometimes yearn for that “safe” feeling again. I need a place to hide from troubles that worry me, but neither my apron, nor Mama’s apron can produce that kind of security for my grown-up problems.
Yet, scripture reminds me I do have access to a hiding place which can protect me from the filth and garbage that would stain my soul. It is available any time I need it. God provides a shield to guard my heart and spirit. He covers my garb of humanity with his robe of righteousness (Ephesians 6:14); I can run to him and be safe (Proverbs 18:10). Behind His goodness I can rest secure in His love and rest safe from harm. He supplies the covering. All I have to do is put it on.
“My soul shall be joyful in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness…” Isaiah 61:10