The Red Sweater
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“The Red Sweater,” Ensign, Apr. 1991, 74

The Red Sweater

How I admired that black sweater! It was soft, with long sleeves and a tapered collar. It had shoulder pads and a belt. I knew it would never hang in my closet as long as its price tag read “too costly.”

“Oh well,” I sighed as I walked out of the store. “Maybe someday.”

On Sunday I sat politely in sacrament meeting, but my mind was on the black sweater rather than on the speaker. In the midst of my daydreaming, my eyes rested upon the sister sitting next to me. She was listening attentively to the speaker. She was wearing a print dress, and over it, a worn red sweater.

I had been impressed by this sister. She never spoke loudly or harshly. She was frequently last in line to be served at functions. In her arms she often carried some small child who belonged to a tired, harassed young mother in need of a few minutes’ rest. I had even been one of those mothers.

I glanced at her again. This unselfish woman, whose kindness and love touched so many lives, was content and unashamed. It did not matter that her red sweater, so unlike the stylish black one I wanted, was old, faded, and in need of repair.

In that moment I became acutely aware of my many weaknesses. I realized what a privilege it was to be in her presence, to be able to sit next to her, put my arms around her, and express my love for her.

I still admire the black sweater, but I aspire to someday be like my friend who wears the red one.—Michele Gaddis, Pukalani, Hawaii