To Make Crooked Paths Straight


Megan Smillie // Tales From the Trenches

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September 18  

Our ironing board sat neglected in the far corner of the laundry room, bemoaning its loneliness. We purchased a brand new, heavy-duty iron a few years ago, in hopes of an increased usage . . . to no avail. I am very much a reluctant keeper of the clothing.

Just recently, the ironing board has seen a significant uptick in action. Our youngest has graduated to the ritual of having to wear a tie to school, which necessitates a white, neatly ironed, button-down shirt. And my mama-pride cannot fathom sending him to school with anything less. (Sometimes I’m convinced that I am my own worst enemy). And so, my Sunday evenings are spent washing, drying, and now ironing these perpetually wrinkled white shirts. The joys of motherhood.

At the end of a particularly busy and troubled weekend, I found myself parked in front of the ironing board, just seething. I was physically and emotionally spent, and could not even. I grabbed the nearest white shirt and spent a few moments wrestling with it to get it to lay straight. It refused. Every time I pulled one way, it shot up in another direction like it was possessed. I yanked and tugged, huffing and puffing in frustration. Taking a deep breath, I started at one bottom corner of the shirt and slowly worked my way, gently now, to the very top. I did this over and over. Make this part straight, now this, now this. Turn over and repeat. Again and again, with all five white shirts, I coaxed their creases out.

It is true that my entire weekend had been consumed with coaxing creases out. My teenagers are utterly enveloped in wrinkles and have numerous creases in their lives. Their paths had become somewhat crooked, and I was exhausted with trying to make them straight. There were tears and some raised voices, some stares of disbelief, and a few moments of rational discussion thrown in here and there for good measure, but mostly the entire weekend was a steady work of stretched love and consistent correction.

In both cases, it dawned on me at various points how blessed I am to have these spirited teens, these white wrinkled shirts. How blessed we are to attend this school, to have this life. Wrinkles are not meant to throw us into despair; they just show us where some extra care and attention are needed. Our own creased lives reveal the work of a loving Father as he guides us to make them smooth—to make our paths lead straight to him.

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