There is a basket full of mittens and gloves in our laundry room. Every autumn we check the basket to make sure that we have enough mittens and gloves for every one in our family, and that every mitten or glove has a mate. Well, that’s the objective, anyway.
But there is just something that mysteriously happens to mittens and gloves (and sox, too!) apparently in the middle of the night, or at least when no one is watching, because they definitely have a way of disappearing. But of course, they don’t just disappear like POOF! a complete pair just goes missing . . . . no, only one from each pair manages to escape from the basket, the laundry room, the bedroom, and for that matter, from the entire house, garage, and car.
So now that the temperatures have dipped to below zero on most morning around here when we are leaving the house at 7:25 a.m., I have three mittens . . . no, wait, this morning I had four. A black one, a pink one, a purple one, and a red one. Why does life have to be so complicated? I suppose I should count my blessings, because if mismatched mittens is the biggest challenge I face today, then I’ll be good.
But in the real world, mismatched mittens are just a symbol of how mixed up life can become when we aren’t paying attention to the details. Our days are filled with running here and there, trying to remember to pay the bills (money? what money???), go to a JOB and / or keep the kids alive, take them to the dr., the dentist, piano lessons, and choir concerts . . . . and so much more . . . that it is a struggle to keep everything and everyone all going in the right direction, at least most of the time. It’s like herding cats. Or water bugs. But I digress . . . . .
Today the mismatched mittens reminded me of a conversation I had recently with a close friend. She was lamenting the fact that her husband was considering taking a new job in a state far away from friends and family, and she really didn’t like that idea. And another friend was anxious about her pre-teen daughter contemplating the possibility of rejecting the faith that her family had lovingly shared with her. And then there was the mother in the neighborhood who just found out that her teen age daughter is expecting her first baby, father off to the care-free days of college. Another friend was facing the challenge of marital struggles, and still another mom I know has a son who has chosen a lifestyle that is dangerous and potentially illegal.
Mismatched hearts. Mismatched people. Mismatched lives. We all have challenges and we all have mismatched “something” going on in our lives. Especially this season of Christmas, perhaps we would do well to reach out and touch the heart of another, even if our heart is breaking, because it is through the love of God in the words and touch of another human being that will make the mismatched among us whole again.
I have three mittens . . . . . but I’m going to find one that matches, just you wait and see!