The other night I decided the time had come for a new pair of size 13 slippers.
That disconcerting development set me thinking about how one’s wardrobe is a window on his life. The Harris tweed winter survival coat from Scotland, the suits from Majorca and ties from Amsterdam, the watch from Hong Kong and the wallet from Florence, all reflect bits and pieces of my professional life.
Only these slippers, so little lived in, have survived for twenty-seven long years. And they expired not through wear but through neglect.
I’ve never really learned to hang up my hat. There’s always an inner restlessness—more or less divine, I trust—about a need that’s greater than we think, a conviction that more can be done than most evangelical Christians dream, and with God’s evident blessing.
There’ll come a time, I know, to live in slippers and to hang up my hat. I hope that heaven will offer built-in opportunities for research and reflection and an escape from incessantly ringing telephones, unending stacks of mail, and prescriptions that chain editors permanently to their desks.
Elton Trueblood once remarked that a real editor needs to be a liberated man. The trick is to be liberated without being prematurely liquidated.1
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