anew, beginning again, belief, content, contentment, direction, faith, family, happiness, health, joy, laundry, life, love, passion, purpose, reinvention, responsibility, revamp, socks, starting over, thought-life
Just find your socks (your skills, talents, passions, convictions)! Dig, toss, turn stuff over. Do whatever it takes. Don’t allow yourself to miss out on what’s right here, right now because you don’t know what’s missing – or worse, don’t know something is missing.
First and foremost a big thank you to everyone who sent their well wishes these past few months. No offense to anyone who didn’t. LOL – most people didn’t even know anything was awry. The long and short of it is, a few months ago I got old…older, I meant to say older.
Well, I did. It finally happened. My body started revolting against me. I couldn’t rejuvenate after four hours of sleep. I was tired the first half of the day, but I’d push through and be short of breath for the second half.
I’ve been to more doctors than I can count, and had so many tests I can’t even remember their names. I’ve been prescribed with medications I can’t pronounce (and honestly haven’t always taken). To make things more interesting, the pills that were supposed to make me better invoked some severe allergic reactions, landing me in the Emergency Room (more than once). I spent a lot of time at home in bed doped up on Benadryl with an air purifier in my face, the part of my face that wasn’t shrouded by the covers I’d pulled over my head. Did I mention I couldn’t stand the light?
No matter how bad I felt, though, life never stopped. My two-year old made sure of that. Little Man made sure mommy had to get out of bed at least once a day to sanitize the bathroom, scrub the carpet after a spill or nurse a boo-boo (usually my own) thanks to balls, bats and balloons lying around.
Now usually for me, cleaning is cathartic – physical cleaning parallels spiritual cleansing. I clean and think, think and clean. I clarify questions, seek answers, and sometimes even get them in the process. That’s what it’s usually like. But lately it had been torture – just getting out of the bed was hard, never mind the actual cleaning. That is until today…with the laundry.
It’s been a few days since I’ve had any allergic reactions, facial swelling or chronic fatigue. I decided to get up and clean.(Fake it ’til you make it, I always say.) I started with the linens. I stripped the bed and dump the sheets into the machine and turned to the dryer where last week’s l”freshly cleaned” load still sat in a basket unfolded. I paced myself so I wouldn’t overexert myself, and did pretty well, too. Until the socks, that is.
What is it about the socks? It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve tied these jokers together and assured that they’re in pairs before I wash them, I’m always short a few socks when it comes time to put them away.
It’s frustrating. What happens to them? Is it The Littles? Do they really exist; camping outside my dryer to steal my socks as I’m dumping loads of clean clothes into the basket? (Or maybe they climb in and pick them out when the socks sit there for almost a week). Do my socks come to life and walk away? Is there some sock war of which we humans remain blissfully unaware? Maybe socks are not the monogamous mates they pretend to be when you buy them. It’s just a front to get out of the store. They’re really hoping to get to a house to meet other socks that don’t look like them. But since all my socks look the same, they decided to leave the house altogether. I mean what else could it be?
I don’t go out much – especially not overnight with the need for clothes, so it isn’t like they could have been left behind somewhere. Where the heck are my socks? I had no idea, so I got looking.
I opened bins, emptied hampers, and pulled furniture away from the walls. Interestingly, I only found some of my socks. (Until I find them all my theories are still worth considering, thank you very much). What was all the more intriguing is where I found them. Places I don’t remember being. Attached to things I’d forgotten I owned. And then it hit me: Life is like this sometimes.
As we strive for better, we sometimes lose sight of things along the way. As we go back in search of the things that made us who we once were – a version of ourselves we liked – we find parts of ourselves holding onto people, circumstances and experiences that we thought were long forgotten. Consciously we’ve forgotten them, but in reality they’re still with us, buried deep beneath all the busyness that holds the forefront of our attention: work, school, kids, family, etc etc etc.
When you finally have back the something you’ve been looking for – your creativity, your hope, your faith, your wit or boldness – you’re probably like me, wondering how you ever did without it. Take those socks, for instance.
When I finally paired some of them it was clear that the mate had been missing for a while. Somewhere along the way I had paired its mate with other socks that looked like it. And it was fine for a while, but when I wanted to assess the whole set, it was clear a piece was gone. The AWOL sock was dingy, murky and covered with fuzz, while it’s counterpart looked crisp and clean since it was clearly used more readily (and recently).
But that’s true of us in life, too. How many times have you allowed yourself to put some part of you on hold? Maybe you wanted to get married, but decided to focus on your career – only to find someone you liked and couldn’t make it work because of your schedule (or your inability to give yourself the way s/he wanted after years out of practice)? Perhaps you wanted to be a parent, but waited so long that now doctors say “it’s too late” or “it’ll be difficult”. Or you could be like so many of us who suppress creativity for the sake of making some money and having a roof over your head. (I’ve been without one of those by the way…totally NOT overrated).
But I urge you…find your socks! Find the parts of you that make you whole. It took my health failing for me to see just how happy I really was with my life. While doing well, I kept thinking about how much better life would be “when”. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m always grateful for what I have, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I firmly believe that when we care for what we have we are blessed with more. And I know that the Lord blesses us beyond anything we can think or ask, so with my imagination I often have to check myself and remember that it’s not all for me or all about me, it’s not even all about the people I love so much. No matter how much I’m doing for myself or my son, family, friends or anyone else I care about, there is still so much I am called to do for strangers I may never meet. My life is meant to reach beyond the tiny bubbles I create around myself. I’ve always known this, but it took me not being able to do anything to really appreciate it.
I had socks – skills, knowledge, characteristics, convictions – that were hidden and buried. Their lack of exposure and use made them dirty and dull. Sitting in the dark they were losing their luster. I had a choice to make, would I throw them away, disregarding them forever, or would I polish them up and put them to use so they could complement their counterparts in my possession?
Now, if this were yesterday and these were real socks – the actual socks I’d pulled from bins and bags – I would say dump them. But God is always on time. Before I went on a hunt for my socks today, I received an email about how to clean house and restore apparel. How to get black back and make white bright. I thought the email was interesting at best, something I could use eventually, but not today. Then I saw my socks and I remembered – what happens in the natural is a reflection of what’s happening in the Spirit.
I couldn’t justify throwing out some socks because I can’t justify throwing away your passion. The socks might be covered in dirt, but they can be cleaned up, just like your passion can be renewed or your skills sharpened.
Your socks come in pairs. If one represents your skills, the other represents your opportunities to sharpen them – through learning and/or practice. Your socks go together. When one is dingy, you need to acquire the needed tools to make it like new again. Physical socks might need Colgate or coffee beans, but your thoughts, characteristics, and skills need opportunity and exposure, Take a continuing education class, make a date with friends, read a book (e-books count), just do something.
Find your socks! Dig, toss, turn stuff over. Do whatever it takes. Just get to work. Your life is waiting.
Don’t allow yourself to miss out on what’s right here, right now because you don’t know what’s missing – or worse, don’t know something is missing. Here are what those steps might look like so you can get on your way.
- Review – Take inventory and see what you’re working with. What do you know? Who do you know?
- Reflect – Consider: are you using everything you’ve got? When was the last time you can recall feeling at peace with your life, like you’re doing exactly what you’re meant to do on this earth, from dusk to dawn? What did it feel like?
- Revise – If you aren’t using everything you’ve got, change the plan so you can.
- Revisit – Pay attention to what’s happening around you. As you make these changes, gauge your happiness and keep doing what’s working for you and change what isn’t.
- Revitalize – When you start to get the hang of having both pieces of the pair – the skills and the chance to use them – you’ll notice something wonderful happens. Not only do you grow and does your life improve, but you begin to have a positive effect on the environment around you (including the people in it). This is what I like to call Living Loud!
- Repeat – Steps 1-5. (I’m giving you a screw face if you need more explanation than that. Lovingly, but a screw face nonetheless).
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this experience, it’s this: Life is like a load of laundry…you have to sort it out, clean it up and take care of it to get the best out of it. Just follow the instructions for quality care…they’re inside your socks.
If you’re blessed – they’ll be you’re very vibrant, very loud, very awesome, aptly paired socks.