I don't know why I'm obsessed--in almost an unhealthy way--about the news of designer Kate Spade's sad and sudden death. I didn't follow her on social media, didn't know her age or family status and I never owned a purse of hers. Nor do I remember her rise to fashion fame.
I do know, when I entered the mall through Nordstrom and walked passed her tailored handbags with her name all in lower case letters, was that I really wanted one. Coach and MK and Yves St. Laurent were familiar. But, Kate Spade, not so much. Only one person in my circles owned the diminutive bag.
I imagined her a young, chic designer who lived on Madison or Fifth Avenue. Turns out it was Park Avenue. Of course!
With every mall visit, I'd saunter by the simple bright bags with a longing gaze and the clear realization that, unless I found one on Poshmart or at World Thrift, I could never call the stylish clutch my own. I would leisurely pass with a longing gaze until my neck hurt from looking backwards. My brother bought one or two for his wife. Lucky sister-in-law, I envied.
What I didn't realize was how much I epitomized this unknown designer as the pinnacle of success. Nor that I'd begun to idolized her. Her business savvy, her dreams fulfilled. Her trio-of-a-family: a self-assured husband-business partner and a daughter with the middle name of Beatrix.
|Photo credit: Akira Yamada|
To me, Ms. Spade's life was Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy and Beatrix Potter and Coco Chanel all in one package. Just being married to a man who wore faded jeans with well-made blazers and good shoes would do it for me.
When I heard the news of her suicide, I was dumbfounded; mystified that someone with so much could feel so empty. Yes, there is talk of her depression and mental health issues and marital struggles. But to have arrived, so to speak, at the not-so-old age of 55 and to have strung her self up with a red Hermes scarf surrounded by Andy Warhol art, custom furniture, a breathtaking New York City view, and a world of fashion ventures to pursue, appeared unthinkable. Money would answer most of my problems. My brain sort of short-circuited to see someone dispose of everything I've ever desired.
Then two days later, cuisine and travel icon, Anthony Bourdain does the same. He was my husband's age, birthdays two weeks apart. Admired by many for his wit, earthiness, writing, again, I can't fathom the degree of desperation that made him just stop living. He had "the life," I thought. I mean, really, all that fascinating travel and exotic tasting.
Both celebrities possessed what I dream about while cleaning my toilets, teaching unruly third-graders, and shopping at Costco. What? Their lives didn't bring the 'it' I chase? 'It' will leave my handbag only half-full?
The obvious radiates in blinking neon lights. All those things, fashion, beauty, creative fulfillment, travel, delicious food were meant to be enjoyed, but not worshiped. They are meant to be enjoyed with the Savior by our side. Inside.
Conversations with neighbors reason out. "I think it's the anti-depressants that put people over the edge. They're no good and too easily dispensed," said one friend who has taken them and knows from personal experience.
My husband said this morning as we talked in the kitchen, trying to understand why these two people who had it all, ended it all. "All I know is that in my deepest gut (while he pressed his hand on my stomach), when I am in right relationship with Jesus, I'm satiated. It's like sunshine on your face and a breeze in your hair. It's like the dancing flowers sunning themselves as they reach upward. That's how we are with Him."
Without Him, all the beauty and pleasure in this world is nothing. Can I learn this? Could I live this? Or will I keep seeking the same stuff instead of the stuff of his Kingdom? Kindness, gentleness, love, righteousness.
"Happy are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled."
If I'm going to dream or pine or pick an obsession, unhealthy or otherwise, it better be Him, and nothing else.