A New Hat by Elizabeth Erin Moore
Maybe an old 80ís movie most likely made before I was born and unheard of to everyone else isnít the greatest analogy to use for this article but oh well. Iím going to use it anyway. I donít even remember the title of the movie but it involved a Jewish woman in her thirties whoíd never been married. She lived a typical contemporary 80ís lifestyle but her grandma was old school and determined to marry her off. The old woman employed a Jewish matchmaker and, to say the least, her granddaughter was not happy. 

One evening the matchmaker invited a man to dinner and not just any man, ďthe pickle man.Ē He made and sold pickles for a living. Not exactly what you would call a glamorous occupation and the young woman wanted nothing to do with him. But as he was leaving he told her the story of a friend of his whom always wore a certain gray hat that sat low on his head and covered his eyes. One day the wind blew his hat off and he lost it. The man was devastated. It was his favorite hat. But the suitor told his friend to suck it up and go across the street and buy another hat. So the man bought a new brown hat and consequently ended up winning the affection of a woman he had long been chasing. Wearing his old gray hat, she could never see his eyes. Simply buying a new hat changed his life. 

I donít think the story really sunk in with the Jewish woman at that point but the pickle man was not one to give up easily. He graciously gave the woman her space but also sent her a present; a big (read: floppy in the 80ís style Ė yuck!) brown hat which she loved. She melted, put it on and went to see him. But seeing him at work, digging through pickle barrels, really turned her off. The poor guy was completely confused and frustrated. There she was wearing the hat but turning him down again. 

Now, the other side of this story involves the womanís work. She has what I would call a crush on her boss. Heís a writer, sophisticated (a.k.a. uppity) and a playboy as well as a jerk. Unfortunately, she doesnít see it until itís almost too late. But, to make a long story short, she does finally see that the ďpickle manĒ is a wonderful, dedicated man with a well rounded life. Personally, I thought he was a lot more attractive as well and Iím not so sure the woman really deserved him but Iím no movie critic. 

Now the point of paraphrasing that old 80ís movie is to emphasize my point that there are times when we really need to buy a new hat. We all get stuck in ruts and more often than not we do it relatively willingly. Change is rarely embraced. But what a difference a new hat, a new way of looking at things, a new way of doing things, can make. 

For example, a friend of mine came to visit me for a weekend and we had a good deal of fun. Granted, there was confrontation but it worked out in the end and I think we both learned something from it. Now we do something novel; we write letters to one another and this past week I received one of the more unique and beautiful compliments of my short life. He said I reminded him of qualities he had once valued but sadly let wane, like his love for people. I really think the change of scenery, the fresh perspective, a different kind of people and maybe the country air helped. Regardless, he remembers now the good things he used to value. 

Another example, something a little more subtle, is an e-mail I received from a relatively new friend. It was short and sweet and a simple reminder of the beauty of simplicity in Christ and the purposefulness of every day. Life was feeling mundane and that day in particular seemed purposeless. I was tempted to waste the day but his fresh perspective reminded me that thereís a reason for every day. 

My last example is a little bigger. Church is probably one area where most people least try on new hats. Iím not talking about changing doctrine here, Iíd just like to see what scripture says we should sing exactly three songs to open services with, one in the middle and three at the end or however your church does it. This past Sabbath my mother, a friend of ours and I all went to visit a Church of God Seventh Day congregation and it was wonderful! The family in the row in front of us lives maybe four miles from us and when you live in the boonies thatís practically your neighbor. After services I sang with the praise and worship team and then joined them in singing at a nursing home afterwards. Iíd never even thought of it before but I really like to sing and it was one of the best Sabbathís Iíve had. It was so rewarding. 

Sometimes we just need to be reminded of the good things we used to cherish. Sometimes we just need to hear a different opinion or do something out of the ordinary. Most of the time we need to get out of our box and learn to see a new color of life. And there are times we just really need to buy a new hat.