“She Shouldn’t Have Worn White”

“My mom says she shouldn’t have worn white”. I looked at my friend perplexed. I was 16 and had never heard the phrase. She was referring to the western Christian custom (brought about by Queen Victoria in 1840) where a bride wears white, symbolic of virginity, of purity. She was specifically talking about a wedding I had been to — a wedding where the petite bride’s belly showed through the satin and lace of a wedding dress; a wedding where the bride was pregnant.

She said it again: “She shouldn’t have worn white” and shook her head. I, daughter of Baptist missionaries, was completely confused. The irony that She, with little church background, was educating me on symbols of purity and virginity was not lost, even at my young age.

They were words of condemnation. Words said in disgust. Words said in judgment.

Suddenly the bride’s gown didn’t seem as beautiful. Suddenly it was stained, all that satin and lace now the color of condemnation.

This conversation has stayed with me since that time. For there are many times where I have heard the words in my head that spoke judgment and condemnation about something I’ve done or said. The words “You shouldn’t have worn white”. 

You shouldn’t have worn white. You’re not qualified. Your past should exclude you. You’re not worthy. You’re an impostor. You’ll never be good enough. You shouldn’t have worn white.

Far worse is that in my mind I have used these words with others, deeming them unworthy. Casting judgment, the first stone, condemning the white until there was no beauty left.

The words made their way into a pocket of my soul unreached by Grace. Grace had to find the way to burrow in and replace words of condemnation with words of conviction. “You shouldn’t have worn white” had to be replaced with words of saving Grace. Words of truth to replace lies of condemnation.

For I have found that true conviction leads me to action while condemnation paralyzes, the paralysis expressed in the phrase “She shouldn’t have worn white”. Satin and lace tarnished, beauty gone, my heart closed to the beauty of Grace.

But conviction? Conviction opens wide the door and makes me long for loveliness, strive for transformation, open to the work of Grace.

“She shouldn’t have worn white” still casts its stain, for sticks and stones may break my bones but words can haunt forever. But words of Grace ultimately win this battle.

Walmart Convictions – A Black Friday Piece

Story of Stuff, Walmart StrikeAbout two years ago, my husband Lowell, declared that we needed to stop shopping at Walmart. In an effort to buy into his latest conviction, I asked him what one book I should read, or what one movie I should watch. I needed convincing.

Allow me to recommend to you the documentary that Lowell suggested entitled Walmart: The High Cost of Low Prices. The documentary builds a case that suggests that Walmart successfully exploits the working poor here in our nation as well as the working poor in various countries where they have their products manufactured (China, Bangladesh, Guatemala etc). According to the film makers they also tend to drain community resources, provide health care that their employees can’t afford, refuse to pay their employees a livable wage, push local competitors out of business, and give back much less, if any, to the cities where they establish themselves. As a result of sexual discrimination and environmental negligence they’ve been engaged in several lawsuits and fines from the EPA. This documentary will break your heart with compassion and disbelief.

Although Walmart employees have in the past tried to speak out against the injustices they experience, they’ve been threatened and silenced. Today though is a momentous day. Today hundreds of Walmart workers are standing up against the establishment. They are striking on, perhaps the most significant shopping day of the year, Black Friday.

This week my husband Lowell received the attached email. It outlines more details of the strike and ways you and I can be involved.

It seems like the right thing to do…a quiet way to bask in the euphoric after-glow of too much turkey…a response rooted in gratitude for the freedoms we have…. It seems like a way to make a statement that says that how people are treated matters. On any other day of the year I want to shop where I know the employees are served with as much respect as the customer.

Today I want to sit at home, maybe do some laundry, make some soup. Today I too want to strike against this day of greed and craziness. Today I want to pray for the brave Walmart employees who are exercising their voice. Today I want to remember that there really is a high cost for low prices…and it’s a price I’m not willing to pay.

Dear Lowell,

This coming Friday, courageous workers at hundreds of Walmart stores around the United States will go on strike.

You likely know the story: Walmart employees earn low wages, receive hardly any benefits, and have little to no voice in their stores. When they’ve attempted to organize a union in the past to advocate for a fairer workplace, they’ve faced intimidation and layoffs.

This year, Walmart is even making some employees leave their Thanksgiving family gatherings to report to work so it can get the Black Friday shopping mayhem started early!

Nice one, Walmart.

Last week, we released a video that encouraged Americans to Choose Family over Frenzy on Black Friday. Rather than head to the mall, we suggested you share leftovers, play games, or enjoy a family tradition.

Today, we’re also asking you to join us in supporting these brave Walmart workers.

There’s no reason Walmart can’t treat its workers better. It makes gobs of money every year and its founders — the Waltons — are one of the richest families in the world. As a matter of fact, in 2010 the Waltons controlled more wealth than the bottom 40% of all Americans!

So, what do you say we show the Walton family a lesson in giving thanks by offering their workers some solidarity this week.

Thanks for your support!


Annie, Michael, Allison, Renee, Naomi, Bill and Nicole
The Story of Stuff Project Team

P.S. If you haven’t watched or shared our Black Friday video, please take a minute to do that this week. And be sure to sign the pledge to stay home and share a picture of your mall-free Black Friday.