It’s been about three months since I began feeling like the sock pile. You know, the pile you build of socks that come out of the wash, alone. They had a partner, a match, but somehow between the time they came off of the owner’s feet and the time they were pulled out of the dryer, one went missing. It is like they just disintegrated, evaporated, magically disappeared. Once in a while you may find the loan match, only after you have already given up and throw out the sock pile sock, or in my house, given in to allowing your daughters to make Barbie dresses out of the misfit socks. While cleaning the car, sock match! Moving the sofa to vacuum, sock match! Searching through books on the shelves to find the ones to return to the library, sock match! Stripping the beds to wash the sheets, sock match! Which leaves you wondering how can these two items whose functionality is literally based on them being a pair, wonder so far from one another.
Like a sock from the pile, I am at a point where reinventing my purpose is poignant. For years my socks has been right where they needed to be. All tidy in the drawer. All bound together, some plain and some spunky, ready for whatever occasion may present itself. Each purpose a pair I could easily grab and wear without ever giving much thought.. As if my “many hats” were socks, I adorned on autopilot, neither one of us expecting much of the other.
Between the, fall back time change that irrevocably is the demise of our family for weeks after it shows its ugly face, the endless opinions being blast night again causing sever election drain and the normal busyness of our home, the last couple weeks have been especially missing sock worthy. Throw into the mix some big life decisions that were looming like a cloud ready to burst at the seems above my head and it makes it difficult to care about finding the match. I pretended I didn’t care that the socks were from different pairs, after all, no one would see them inside my shoes. Or went barefoot, tiptoeing on uneven ground, hesitant and fearful.
I had become used to a life where I had a laundry list full of roles and tasks, purposes. I loved all of them and together they made me who I was, I was known for them and as them, they gave me purposes. When what I failed to see is that I had it all wrong. I was so focused on the purposes, that I was missing the message. Purposes vs. purpose is?
In church this past Sunday, one of the pastors was speaking about purpose. Ironic? No. Well played and necessary, yes. He used the little hand rhyme: this is the church, this is the steeple, open the doors and see all the people, to illustrate how the people of the church are actually the church, while the church is just a building. That we must not just show up inside the building, to enjoy great music and grab a snack, but we must take the church with us when they leave the building. It is much easer to do this when you have a sense of purpose. Without it we become stagnant, comfortable and robotic. We may live out tasks and roles only to check them off a list and this constant dance of to-do’s mentality steals our joy. To me, it was the stealing of joy that struck a chord.
A few days prior to this sermon and the idea of joy theieving, my mom stopped over to the house during her lunch hour. She planing to eat a frozen smoothie and yogurt at her desk when she realized she had forgotten a spoon. I told her I’d leave the door open and resumed my previous activity. Which included me, in my fuzzy leopard print robe and sparkly gold glitter slippers, sitting at the breakfast bar in the kitchen, head on the granite countertop shoveling Mike and Ikes into my mouth by the handful. Purposeful I was not.
As I would be, if the situational roles were reversed, she was concerned. And since the title of “Mom” brings comfort, a safe place with matching socks, I cried. I told her about feeling lost, like the dryer had stolen one of all of my favorite socks and here I am trying to make sense of it all. Everything that had been my identity for years had dissolved with our recent move out-of-state. I welcomed my new roles but kept half expected to find a missing sock to one of my pairs while I was running errands around town, dropping by the school’s PTO meeting, talking to my neighbors, sitting quietly in church.
She didn’t tell me that I looked and sounded unstable, I already knew that part, but simply listened. I was a fuzzy, candy-eating robot, who had checked off so many boxes that morning already that I was tired and had lost all the joy.
Fast forward a few days to that sermon. The pastor asking about purpose and reminding us that when we are pursuing our purpose there is joy! We forget all about the missing socks because we have enough faith to go barefoot to where ever we are led. It would have been uncanny if those were his words, however my analogy is a paraphrase of this preaching. His question about passion and purpose made me realize that I needed a new personal mission statement. As the doer, the check-off the lister, the producer of results and never give-uper, it was a tough call. At the end of the day, I want to help people, make a difference and spread joy. That is what has been missing. the joy.
It got me thinking about what brings me joy. What was I no longer doing or recluctantly doing that was leaving me feeling less than joyful. Above all, I believe that joy is a choice. However, I was living outside of that belief. I was putting so many circumstances on the feeling, as if saying, I will only be joyful when I find the match to that fluffy sock with the little owls on it, you know, the one with the slip-grips on the bottom?
My joy leads me to bare feet and sand. It is found in my kids laughing and kitchen dance parties. Joy is sometimes not getting what is wanted, but getting what is needed. It is in homemade goodies and snuggles with my hubs. Choicing joy is often the more difficult choice, especaiully when you are feeling like the lone ranger of footwear, but like any discipline, it becomes easier with practice. My decision to live a mission of bringing joy has lead me directly to some new ventures. When our hearts, heads and our faith are in line we are surely igniting passion. Passion not just in yourselves, but within our familiesand friends and our actions have the power to make a difference.
So with a leap of faith, I threw away all the socks with no matches and got the joy down in my heart. And I’m so happy. So very happy.