It was back in the 1980’s, and she wore a pastel pantsuit to Church. It wasn’t just any pastel pantsuit, either. This was a sophisticated lady; older, silver-haired, moneyed; and what she wore was pure class. She put all of us with our floral skirts or Mormon tent-dresses to shame. Because I was her visiting teacher, I knew why she wore a pantsuit to Church. She had severe eczema on her legs. They were raw and red and often bore open sores. Pantyhose were a nightmare for her, and she couldn’t bear to bare those legs. So she wore her beautiful pantsuits, but she always felt a sense of shame. She would pull and tug on the fabric. She would enter the chapel surreptitiously, after the opening hymn had started, and she would sit in the seat in the very corner, next to the door. She’d cross her ankles and tuck her legs waaaay under the pew.
When you walked into Church last Sunday, were you wearing your pastel pantsuit? Did you feel just a bit different than everyone else in their white shirt and tie? Are you, perhaps, an Obama supporter, or do you have a tattoo from your days in the army? Maybe you don’t look any different, but you’re always crossing your figurative ankles, hiding under the pew your conviction that women should hold the priesthood!
We are all diverse, some more obviously than others. Many of us have felt the pain of being different. But today I’d like to focus our thoughts outside ourselves. Today I would like to ask you: Who is wearing the purple pantsuit in your ward? Who is the one who is just a little bit different? Do you know their story? What have you done to welcome them to the table?