I spent all afternoon on that dress, trying to fit the pieces together, tugging and stretching and pulling. When I pulled it from the machine, all bunchy and gathered, I was sure I’d done it all wrong. But she squealed and grabbed it and tugged it over her head all the same. I pulled the covers up to her chin and saw she’d decided to sleep in it that night.
When the sun rose above the trees, we all woke in a stir and one of us was pulling this way and the other was stretching that way. And when she tugged just right, the skirt seam ripped right open. All those threads tied in tension finally let go and she dropped tears as the skirt dropped to the ground.
Why do I think I can tie this life together with tension?
‘Love should be the silver thread that runs through all your conduct. Kindness, gentleness, long-suffering, forbearance, patience, sympathy, a willingness to enter into childish troubles, a readiness to take part in childish joys-these are the cords by which a child may be led most easily-these are the clues you must follow if you would find the way to his heart.’
‘Few are to be found, even among grown-up people, who are not more easy to draw than to drive…’
from The Duties of Parents by J.C. Ryle
When kids run this way and that and emotions rise low and high, I can sometimes just want to bang my fist this way or clap my hands that way or stomp my feet low or raise my voice high. I pull and I tug on the threads that tie us together thinking that force is what will do it. But this is no way to tie a family together. The torn dress lying atop the machine is proof enough.
I wait for a quiet moment to start again with this little dress. And this time I’ll just use my hands and a needle, no rigid machine, no pulling and pushing. One little up and down at a time, I’ll fit these pieces together. And it will take a long time, more than an afternoon. But these threads, these ones tied slowly and sweetly together will not give way for a long, long time.
All of us should read this short and very worthwhile book, more than 100 years old with more than 1000 years of wisdom. He notes that we all, both physical and spiritual mamas, have a job to do with raising little ones to the glory of God-The Duties of Parents free right here or order it for less than $7 here.