Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

I shouldn't be surprised, because we've been married for 17 years, but our towels are worn thin. Worn out. They are in pitiful shape. My parents even bring their own towels when they come to visit, although that's more because they never know if there will clean ones here. I never feel like spending the money on towels. It seems that there is always something more pressing, like shoes, or underwear, or chocolate.  I  long for new towels, though. Big, fluffy towels, in fact. I don't particularly care what color. I've thought about white towels, or towels with our initials on them. Really, it just doesn't matter what color they are, or whose initials are on them. I just would like new towels. To step out of the shower and not have to use a paper thin, frayed around the edges, who-knows-what-color-it-started towel would feel decadent.

Someday soon I'm gonna get me some new towels. I hear February is the best month because the stores have linen sales, so I read somewhere. 

The real trouble is this: some days I feel like my over-used towels. I feel worn thin around the edges, unraveling in all the worst places, and my color has changed from bright to dull. It is probably not apparent from the outside, but I sure as heck feel it on the inside. This thin feeling has nothing to do with my age (except maybe a teeny bit), or my family, or my friends, or my life. This feeling that I am unraveling, that I am not the way I once was, that I am not the way I was made to be, this feeling that the world is coming undone has everything, and nothing, to do with me. 

In my own life, things are good right now. But I watch the news and feel like I'm dying a little. The horror of Sandy Hook, people starving, people stealing, corrupt governments, parents losing children long before they should have, parents killing their own children, cancer, cancer everywhere. It all feels so heavy.

I started out like a new towel - ready to be used, gentle to the touch. When I first fell in love with Christ I knew I could do all things through Him. I felt triumphant and expectant. I felt that I understood everything. I felt I would never wear out.  

But then I woke up one day and realized I didn't just feel worn out, I was am worn out. 

This feeling of being worn is part of the human condition. 

There was a time when I thought that committing my life to Christ meant that I would be free of this feeling, this feeling of not enough.

Wasn't that silly of me?

The truth is that committing your life to Christ guarantees feeling worn thin.  No, but no, it's more than that, isn't it? The truth is, everyone gets to feeling this way, with or without God.  Feeling that something's not right, or that this life isn't what you thought it would be. The question is, what do you do to combat this feeling? Should you combat this feeling?  Could this knowledge, knowledge of evil and devestating events in the world, keep me tethered to the knowledge that love can change all that? Christians certainly cannot ignore the world around them - we are to be in the world, just not of the world. A life devoted to Christ demands that we minister to the world. Also, a life devoted to Christ means that when you are weary (and you will be weary) you look to the I AM to recharge your batteries.  A better work out, better eating, better cars, better clothes, better haircuts - those are just pick-ups, not fix-ups. Those things aren't bad, eitherLee always knows when I need to go sit in the hairdresser's chair, and a good work out is good for so many things.  

To really get revved back up, though, I need Living Water, and not just a dip. I need a swim.  The kind of swim I took when I was kid, when I didn't care what anyone thought, when I just pinched my nose and ran with my eyes closed and jumped in. My feet would hit the cool, muddy bottom of the lakeWith my eyes still closed, the water was everywhere, it was heavy and light all once, and I was just part of it and it was part of me. I would push off the bottom and reach through the top of the water, hands first, smiling like I had just discovered something brand new. Then I would jump back on the raft and do it all over again, and again, and again, until I was limp and sleepy.

I want to be like that again. I want to fearlessly jump into deep waters.  I want to not only embrace this crazy life I've been given, but to experience this gift. I want to be fully present, not caught up in the hustle and bustle.  I really don't want to allow the hecticness of this world to debilitate me. I want to live in this world, knowing it's not my home, but joyful nonetheless. 

Back to the towel thing. I've been thinking on this for a bit. My towels got worn thin by being washed, and used, and washed and used.  The towels get thrown in the washer more often than anything else in our home, and I don't put them on gentle cycleMy towels were good bath towels for a bit, but then they went on to other things - harder work, even. The thin towels are used to dust, scrub floors, wipe up the worst spills, and give to people in emergency situations (like when their kid pees in the car seat). The thin towels don't look like much, and aren't used for what they once were, but they are still used.

So, I guess, it's good that I'm like my towels and worn thin. My weariness allows me to lean on Jesus, who pushes me on to the harder, messier jobs. The heartaches I've experienced, the hurts, the disappointments crack my heart wide open leaving space for the good stuff : the real Truth of life.  All that hard stuff makes it easier for me to love on those who need it, and pushes me to love the unlovable all the more. 

So, I'm thinking weary and worn is how my Maker wants me.  Maybe being worn thin does not to render me unusable, but restores me to useful. I might not be doing what I thought I would at this point in my life, but I am definitely being used.  

So, here I go.  Lather, rinse, repeat. Who's going to jump in with me?



  1. Is it hypo-allergenic soap soap? Will there be a loofah? If so, then I am down.

  2. "and not just a dip. I need a swim." Love it!

  3. Maybe we just need an invention that not only cleans the clothes, but restores the cloth. Anyway, I have always enjoyed doing laundry. Take something dirty that no one like to have around them, then wash, dry, and fold. When you put it back where it belongs, people pick it up and say, "Wow, this smells good. I want it around me again!" The same is true for Christians. Sometimes we just need to go through the wash cycle. Funny, I remember those blissful days of youth at the lake also. Of course, they were 30 years before your blissful days, but I still like the memories.

  4. Hi Kara,

    I love that our Creator can mend and refluff our towels too whenever we need it.

    Jennifer Dougan