It was a simple task, one that has been repeated more times than I can count. Most of the time I do it mindlessly, tackling it like a robot would in a factory assembly line. Now that our kids are older, they take turns helping with this task.
This particular day I couldn’t wait for them to participate. I sat in the middle of the living room floor, sorting and folding laundry. Something changed, though, when I reached for the stained T-shirt and holey socks.
Suddenly I was no longer a robot. I visualized five-year old Landon’s one-kneed jeans and his zest for outdoor activity. I pictured his arms and knees to the ground as he digs, creating a safe haven for his latest treasures or crawling up the stairs of the play set. Memories of Landon tripping mid-stride while racing his sister and a friend across the field have also taken a toll on these jeans. Despite the holes, he’s comfortable in those jeans and wears them without wondering what people will think of that hole.
But picking up holey socks in the laundry pile sent my thoughts in another direction. One Sunday, Landon mentioned that something was bothering his toes. After church, we investigated the source of his discomfort.
“Oh, I have a hole in my sock,” he noted upon shedding his shoes. I thought about how those holes are normally hidden from view and aren’t welcome to make an appearance in social situations, at least in my book. How quick I am to fix or hide a hole in something, especially if someone else may spot it.
When I see a hole in someone else’s clothing, I often breathe a soft sigh of relief. They have holey stuff, too! Whether it’s a total stranger, a friend, or another family member who is sporting a visible hole, it seems as though we suddenly have a common bond even with something as insignificant as a sock or a pair of jeans.
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man…” (1 Cor. 10:13a, KJV)
Imagine what might happen if we revealed more of our “holes” to one another – a broken marriage, a rebellious child, fear, mom-exhaustion, worry, impatience, an addiction, anger, doubt, depression, or a host of other things. The very temptations and struggles we often hide from each other are the things God may use in our lives…not for comparison (2 Cor. 10:12), not for judging or condemning (James 4:11), but for provoking one another unto love and good works (Heb. 10:24), for bearing one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2), and for edifying one another (Eph. 4:29).
Maybe the next time I discover a hole, I won’t be so quick to hide it.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:10 (KJV)
“Heavenly Father, on this side of eternity, we’ll all experience holes in our lives. Please help me trust You with every part of my life and help me share Your grace with others….”