FlightPaths: The Tablecloth — Dene Ward — Posted 8-15-2013
My grandmother crocheted a lace tablecloth for me many years ago. She was quite a lady, my grandmother. She was widowed in her forties, left behind with two of her five children still at home. She met the bills by doing seasonal work in the citrus packing sheds of central Florida, standing on her feet 10-12 hours a day, 6 days a week in season, and then working in a drugstore, a job she walked to and from for nearly thirty years. She delivered prescriptions, worked the check-out, even made sodas at the fountain.
It was a small town and once, a woman whom my grandmother knew was not
married, came in looking for some form of birth control. My grandmother told her, “No! Go home and behave yourself like a decent woman should.” No, she did not lose her job over that. She merely said what every other person there wished they had the nerve to say back in those days. She lived long enough to see the shame of our society that no one thinks it needs saying any more.
As to my tablecloth, most people would look at it and think it was imperfect. She crocheted with what was labeled “ivory” thread, but she could never afford to buy enough at once to do the whole piece. So after she cashed her paycheck, she went to the store and bought as much as her budget would allow that week and worked on it. The next week, she went back and did the same, always buying the same brand labeled “ivory.” Funny thing about those companies, though—when the lot changes, sometimes the color does too, sometimes only a little, but sometimes “ivory” becomes more of a vanilla or even crème caramel. The intricately crocheted squares in my tablecloth are not all the same color, even though the thread company said they were.
Some people probably look at it and wonder what went wrong. All they see is mismatched colors. What I see is a grandmother’s love, a grandmother who had very little, but who wanted to do something special for her oldest grandchild. I revel in those mismatched squares because I know my grandmother thought of me every week for a long time, spent the precious little she had to try to do something nice, and, as far as I am concerned, succeeded far beyond her wildest dreams.
If it were your grandmother, you would think the same I am sure. So why is it we think Almighty God cannot take our imperfections and make us into great men and women of faith? Why is it we beat ourselves to death when we make a mistake, even one we repent of and do our best to correct? Do we not yet understand grace? Are we so arrogant that we think we don’t have to forgive ourselves even though God does? Yes we should understand the enormity of our sin, repenting in godly sorrow, over and over, even as David did, but prolonged groveling in the pit of unworthiness can be more about self-pity and lacking faith in God to do what he promised than it is about humility. The longer we indulge in it, the less we are doing for the Lord, and Satan is just as pleased as if we had gone on sinning. Either way helps him out.
The next time you look into a mirror and see only your faults, remember my tablecloth. When you give God all you have, he can make you into something beautiful too.
And God is able to make all grace abound unto you, that you, always having all sufficiency in everything, may abound unto every good work, 2 Cor 9:8.
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