Parable of the Lone Sock

Most reading this likely know I've lived in a large intentional community house (the size of a hotel) for most of my life.

We interact daily and there are a lot members as well as various visitors, family members, guests and nearly 100 senior citizens on the top floors as we offer low-income housing as one of our ministries (Friendly Towers).

I (and we) appreciate people, and need to be around people, sometimes when I/we wouldn't otherwise choose to be!

Anyhow, we have all sorts of people at JPUSA and some are quite messy while others are pretty neat and mostly clean up after themselves.

We have a good sized laundry room and it may be that the lone sock I noticed in the corner of our 2nd floor stairwell simply fell out of some one's laundry basket as they were either coming or going on the stairs.

It looked dirty but I didn't stop to catch it's scent! Perhaps it was on the way down for a wash when it fell out. Or jumped out?

Where DO all those socks end up every time we do the laundry? How come over the course of a year most families see pairs break up… and the one just seems to evaporate? Sock heaven? Sock hell?? Or just a Twilight Zone for socks. Dunno, but I guess it's part of life with socks.

Anyhow, as I went down to get ready for a church gathering a few things zipped through my mind. It may sound obsessive, but trust me, this all happened in a moment and until I passed the sock coming up later I didn't really give it a thought:

Should I pick it up? Should I (with several hundred people in the house) put up a note on the public clipboards that there is one black sock (gee… anybody else wear totally black socks around here?) laying by itself on the landing… come see me after church if it's yours?

DO I want to pick it up? Hmmmm.

I know for certain it's not MY sock.

Hey- why don't people mind their own mess… I mean busine… I mean take care of their own laundry around here? Some of us aren't paying proper attention.

Arrgghh… a nice couple of friends are visiting for the first time. They'll arrive today and one of their first impressions of the place and of us when we haul their luggage up will be "Honey, did you see that sock laying there in the corner of the stairs? These people are lazy slobs and careless!" Or perhaps "I feel right at home, I LOVE this place already!"

Whew, I might be judging my friends before I have a clue what they'd think -or if they'll even notice it.

Then again like many people… errr… even me… they might often pass by such things and not even see them at all, just not even notice.

We all have a lot going on.

There are days I wish I didn't notice these lone socks!

People often feel like that. Now I don't mean "like I do" about such things, I'm now talking about the sock.

It's cheap and simple metaphor but there are a lot of people who don't think anyone notices them sitting in a dark corner by themselves.

They wonder if they'll ever be noticed. Or perhaps they don't WANT to be noticed. Some people have felt tossed aside, or have fallen, or feel (or truly have been) forgotten to the extent they don't want to be seen.

Anonymity isn't safe. It may seem like it but in the end one has to live with one's self… and we need others whether we want to face the difficulties or not.

Many feel (rightly, wrongly or both) they've been so mis-handled they'd rather not be lifted up. No embrace is better than a painful one… or to have those pains exposed by a squeeze.

Indeed, there are more lone socks in this world and among the churches than I care to think about. But God keeps making sure I notice. I don't notice them all, I'm not God. But because of His love, He often points them out to us doesn't He?

Truth is, I confess, thinking, talking, meeting, writing, singing and doing conferences about them is a great deal easier than -doing- anything.

Ever felt like a lone sock in the corner?

I have felt that way, and at times placed myself there on purpose in order to escape from any number of people and pains, especially in my earlier days.

By circumstances or choice, that sock is still there.

Well, maybe before I get back to it and decide what to do about it, it'll have been picked up (or found again) by someone. Maybe not.

Funny how a lone sock gets me to thinking about people. Amazing when God gives us eyes to see.

Better yet when we begin to love enough that we then start caring and finally do something positive for the lone sock(s) in front of us.

It will certainly fit -some one's- foot! Maybe mine? There's a better place for it than the rubbish.

Hmmm. I have a couple lone socks in my own drawer. Maybe that one would be a perfect match.

I think a local church can be like that. IF… if… if…

Thanks for stopping by!



1 Comment

  1. i found the sock, a local church.people i have known from in the past and new people. i am playing guitar their. its been c church ive wanted to attend. and now i am!!!!im sure ive left a sock somewhere. my past.jesus washes my sins.

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