Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Mismatched Socks

I am wearing mismatched socks today.

My wife and I have both been pretty busy as of late and so the sock pile in my drawer dwindled, and the sock pile of dirty laundry grew.  This morning, there were only three socks in my drawer, and they were all different--a testament to the uncanny ability of a washer and dryer to consume socks.

Therefore, I was left with little choice but to wear mismatched socks.

But here is the kicker, no one would ever know unless I told them.  I wear blue jeans and boots to work.  No one ever sees my socks.  I could have gone through this entire day without anyone ever knowing the flaw in my attire today.  The only one who would have known about it is me.  Well, me and God, but I'm not so sure He consumes Himself with angst when one of His creation wears mismatched socks.

There are other matters with which He consumes Himself--not the least, the other things we willfully try to hide.

And we like to hide a lot.

Yeah, I know that all those aisles of make-up are sold to people with the idea they are to "enhance" a person's natural beauty, but give me a break--that's one of the greatest lies ever told.  P.T. Barnum would be proud.  Make up covers up the original.  It's a mask.  It covers reality.  It allows a person to hide one's true face-flaws and all.

And how many products are on the shelves which seek to help us hide the fact that we are growing older?  Hair dyes, creams, Botox, plastic surgery.  You name it, it's out there.  All striving to get us to cover up and hide the fact that we are growing older.

Baggy clothes cover up weight gain.  Other products are designed to cover up other perceived physical flaws and limitations.

And we don't just cover up our physical selves.  Not in the least.  There is much that we hide about our families.  To let others know our family isn't perfect--that we argue and fuss and fight and deal with stubborn, rebellious children and worry about our financial situations and work too much and play too little and that we are bored out of our minds when the power or internet goes out and that we desperately want quiet time but not too much of it because it gives us too much time to think and reflect and that we want to disconnect from all the electronic connections technology has brought us but we are afraid we might miss something and that in the midst of all of this we long and desire to love and be loved but even when we have a significant other we are afraid to admit this or ask for what we would like lest we show some sort of vulnerability.  Yes.  Our relationships can be quite messy, and so we work to cover them up.  It is very rare that if you ask someone, "How are you?" they don't respond, "Fine."

And that's not all.

No.  Not the least.  We haven't even gotten to the real nitty-gritty.  We haven't even gotten to those other dirty little secrets: the mismatched socks which are a part of the human psyche and soul.  You know the ones I am talking about.  The secret thoughts and desires and hatreds which reside deep down within our hearts and minds.  The secret thoughts and desires which never see the light of day.  The secret thoughts and desires which if were ever fully known might cause a number of people shock, discomfort, surprise, even anger.

We bury such things deep down.  They must not see the light of day.  For then, others would truly know our flaws, our weaknesses.  Sharks smell blood in the water, and they circle quickly.  If we show weakness, the human sharks will do likewise.  No one must know that we have mismatched socks.

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. --Jesus, the Sermon on the Mount

Most of us know, God forgives us.  Most of us know God sees all of our sin.  Most of us know when we admit such sin to Him, He wipes the slate clean.  We become free--free to live our lives from carrying around such burdens. 

We know this.  We also know we continue to sin.  We also know nearly everyone else does too.  We know all too well we have skeletons in the closet, but we know everyone else does too.  Yet, we persist in trying to keep those skeletons from everyone else.  We persist in trying to keep them secret, covered up.  If no one ever knows...then my reputation will remain in tact; then no one will think less of me; then I will not have to answer embarrassing questions; then I don't have to face any shame; then I don't have to admit my failure and my flaws.

We spend tremendous amounts of energy making sure no one knows we have mismatched socks.

What if we truly practiced what Jesus spoke of forgiveness?  What if we truly implemented the truth of forgiveness?  What if we truly recognized our flaws and the flaws of others and instead of spending so much time, energy, and money trying to conceal them, we admitted them and asked each other for assistance in overcoming them?  What if by bringing them to light, we walked through the shame and into the freedom of true forgiveness?

Would it change the way we lived?  Would it change the dynamics of our relationships?

I have mismatched socks.  Literally and figuratively.  Does that make you think less of me?

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