My wife and I were perusing the items on the eBay site last night when I thought it might be nice to recover some nostalgia from my elementary school days. Yes. I have found two items that have escaped mainstream media attention as far as being meaningful to the 80s. These items were of GREAT importance to me, personally, though.

Here you go. First item:

The above picture features something that we must call nothing but what the tag so boisterously screams: “JAMS”. These were the shorts that I fell in love with in the 80s. You were not cool unless you had a pair of JAMS for every day of the week. I didn’t grow up in such an affluent family to afford the “original” jams. My mother, the wonder woman of all, would take me to a fabric store and allow me to choose a couple patterns of bright material. She would then take the material and craft a very good facsimile of the “original” jams. I did, later on, come to own my own stock of “original” JAMS. I remember one pair with fondness: they hung mid-calf (much like a good pair of capri pants). The pattern screamed intellectual giant: red and white checkerboard. Yes. You could have played tournament style board games on my pants.

Ok. Now to the second item. Real class awaits:

The said item above is a classic. Largely undiscovered. I remember it vividly though. The “coke” rugby shirt. Nothing like it. I mean, the look on the models face above speaks for itself. True happiness trapped inside cotton and nylon.

Now… A Reflection:

I remember now, and I guess part of the experience of growing up is that you learn such lessons, how badly these items seemed to be important to me. I wanted them like I wanted air to breathe. My parents, who didn’t at the time have a lot of money, ended up sacrificing to get me them (or make copies of them). Now, they just look like silly reminders of a time gone by.

You know, I rode the bus to school as a kid. I don’t suppose I’ve really talked about this as an adult, but the bus rides were traumatic. My family chose to spend money where they should, to buy a house and cars rather than nice clothes for their kids, so I ended up being dressed a little different than other kids. I remember very vividly being made fun of by kids over the two items listed above. I remember how I felt like nothing because I didn’t have them, that fragile 10-year-old ego crumbling under the weight of peer leveled scrutiny. I remember that. It hurt. It doesn’t hurt anymore.

I suppose it took me a long time to learn the lessons that God was offering me then. It would have been easier to learn them then, but I didn’t. I resented. I ran. I hid, at times. I suppose the biggest lesson is love who you are and believe in who you are.

God made you. You are enough. It’s pretty simple.

God loves you. We should love that which God loves. We should love ourselves.

It’s pretty simple.

It took me a LONG time, but I started getting it. I don’t know if I really have it now or maybe I’ve just started the journey.

I do know this – if I’m glad I’m not traveling on this journey (or just in an airplane) right now wearing a nice pair of “original” JAMS and a “coke” shirt.

Hopefully, God will continue to show me things that are as fleeting in importance like iPods, Rainbow Sandles, and even MySpace? — who knows?