catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 7, Num 7 :: 2008.04.04 — 2008.04.18


The old dishrag

When the call went out for stories about “meaningful object,” so very many examples came to mind, and with them, myriad memories of the people and places that are attached to them. Not until this evening, however, while cleaning up after dinner—did I realize that I have one pretty peculiar favorite thing—a kitchen towel!  This oh-so-common kitchen sundry isn't extraordinary because it was hewn from expensive fabric, hand-made or otherwise original or one-of-a-kind. For all I know, it is one of millions just like it. There's not even a printed message or a stitch of embroidery on it—very ordinary indeed.

So why don't I just get rid of it? The velour has worn through in spots, and there are holes in it. As I used it to wipe away the food splatters, I realized that there's more to this affection than childish play. It's really not the same as a "blankie," and although it is made of a soft plush fabric, it can't and shouldn't be elevated to the status of a "Velveteen Towel." No, it is just a tangible sign of something greater, or rather, should I say Someone Greater. The towel was a Christmas gift from one of our son's Sunday school teachers over a decade ago.

At that time in my life, I was practicing what I'd call "Christ-insanity"—a whole lot of seeking going on, but not much obedience. Jesus was in my head and my heart, but I had not yet surrendered my life to Him.  I was one of those parents that certain long-time Christians like to criticize—the Sunday Shopper gals who drop their kids off for the obligatory morning Bible lesson, but who wouldn't bother participating in one (or a church service, either). Children's church was the safest and best baby-sitting money didn't have to buy. Some church folk would rather avoid us Sunday Shopper gals, but not Sister Jane. When it came time for Christmas gifts, all the parents, even us Sunday Shopper gals, received a towel from Sr. Jane, and that's what makes it so special. Here was a sign of unconditional love and friendship, even though most of the behavior I had displayed up until that point was selfish, and unbefitting of even a "baby Christian."   Sister Jane communicated the love of God in a most profound way, and that is the one blessed assurance I want to hold on to most dearly—that no matter what, God loves me, and that while I was "yet a sinner," Christ died for me.

And, with that simple gift, God was speaking volumes. "It's not time to throw in the towel because you are loved." "Sometimes you may feel as limp as a dishrag, but I am here for you." "People who know they are loved are freed to love and serve others.”  “As true Christians, we must wash each other's feet."  If God had one of His messengers hand-deliver a personal invitation for you to serve and follow Him, would you throw it away? 

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