My Filthy Rag


‘Tis the season for hand sanitizer and tissues, ushering hesitant handshakes and skeptical side-hugs. Despite red noses and watery eyes, we continue to drag ourselves out of the house in hopes of accomplishing something, anything. A day spent stifling nasal flow while unclogging congestion is confusing enough, yet we persevere. And though tissues are the trending treatment of choice for such illness, those who consider themselves old school use hankies – snot-filled rags nestled in personal pockets. The hanky is the cloth diaper of facial products – few loyalists, but ardently so.

When I think of a hanky, or a cloth diaper for that matter, I think of the good things I do; not merely intentions, but the actual accomplishment of something super nice. Like the other day when I was in line at the grocery store, I let a man jump ahead of me in line. Okay, so it was because I had to go back for a head of lettuce, but even so, he appreciated it. And then at Taco Bell I helped an old lady locate the water spout on the soda machine. It had little to do with the fact that she was blocking the Mt. Dew nozzle. “It’s just below the fruit punch, ma’am.” She seemed more than grateful. So why am I reminded of these selfless deeds by a hanky, a filthy rag? Because ultimately, I know God’s view of my public service. He sees through my charade and identifies the state of my heart. Even my greatest endeavors to better the world are helplessly tangled in my own agenda.

While I’m flattered by the humanist’s assumption of my humanity being essentially good, I just don’t buy it. I don’t know which human specimen they’re using for the basis of their theory, but I’d bet the specimen’s spouse would disagree. From my own research I’ve found that the six billion people on this planet innately feel the universe revolves around them. Only one could be right, yet all are wrong. The very best we have to offer in the way of good deeds is hopelessly short of perfect. This is precisely why I bask in God’s grace.  I bank on His deposit rather than my own pittance. I dress daily in Christ’s righteousness, rags far different than my own.



My Sweet P

Presley Love

As with most mornings, Presley’s silky blonde hair was whimsically wild. Her cheeks were warm, chubby, and flushed, framing a toothy grin. Her daring blue eyes were well rested and eager for a new day’s adventures. All of this sat atop a pajama-laden body; soft, cuddly, and oh-so cute.

I sipped my coffee and watched her explore her toy box yet again. Playing with toys is her vocation, a job she excels at. She decided on her dolly’s stroller, a smaller scale of her own. She pulled it from the pile of toys and positioned it in the center of the room. And despite its diminutive dimensions, Presley hoped to sit in it. She then aligned herself for what should have been a direct deposit of her hindquarters into the seat.

It was while she slowly backed up, I noticed the seat of the carriage wasn’t attached and I offered my services by jumping into action. Having saved her from a fall, perhaps some hurt, and even a bit of embarrassment, I fully expected a kiss for Daddy. Yet, when I grabbed the stroller she threw a fit. Not the type of fit you’ve seen displayed by the demon-child in Walmart, but a mere grunt of disapproval that grew in grit the longer I toyed with her toy. She didn’t appreciate my interruption. She didn’t welcome my work. I tried to explain that I was fixing the stroller, but to no avail. Thankfully it was a quick fix and I replaced it to its original position. She continued on, oblivious to her rescue and even frustrated with her rescuer.

In that moment I saw myself in Presley. Of course, she’s far cuter than I am, but I’m referring to my attitude and my reaction at times to my God, my Rescuer. I often throw fits at His interruptions. I demand reasons why He’s taken things from me. I insist that He give back what is mine and question His intentions. All the while, I am oblivious. What has He saved me from for which I’ve never offered thanks? What have I done to deserve His patience, His care, and His love for me? 

I will forever seek to save my daughter from hurt, even at the risk of upsetting her. I see the same zeal in my God for me.