When my foot touched the top step, and I smelled that familiar scent, I went back to three years prior.
I closed my eyes and told God, before I even cracked open that door: I can’t fix it. I’m going to want to, but I can’t fix it.
I didn’t and couldn’t. But I figured out how to settle in that reality, and tried to find some kind of hope to grab ahold of. It was then I realized I have to accept that some things take more time than just a few years. Some things can’t simply be solved over a cup of coffee and a hearty breakfast.
After that, I pulled out my favorite pair of pink shorts.
I had horribly ruined them the year before by washing them with dark clothes.
I did the very thing that my Mama taught me not to do with laundry. Separate your darks, they’ll ruin everything else.
I should have believed her.
I remember disappointment grabbing me when I saw those stains. They were just a pair of shorts, but they were my favorite and I was frustrated.
They were ruined and there was no fixing it. It was plain and simple.
But I just couldn’t throw them away. I put them in a box and thought maybe God would do a miracle and I’d pull them out one day to realize none of it happened.
I was delusional….over a pair of shorts. But I guess we all have our quirks.
In the waiting for my unlikely miracle, I searched for a replacement pair and nothing fit quite the same. I browsed the internet and seriously searched every store from here to Georgia; I found nothing that even came close.
So nearly a year later, I pulled them out of the box. The stains were–as you would guess–still there.
Stubborn misfit that I am, I went against all that made sense; I scrubbed the spots and put them back in the washer.
I waited, knowing that I was probably just wasting gallons of water while simultaneously paving my life path closer to permanent insanity.
When the cycle ended, I pulled them out and I just stood there with tears. I remember so clearly feeling God’s presence and I heard Him say so loudly, almost as if it were audible:
“Some things wash out.”
My shoulders shook as I began to cry. I knew God wasn’t just talking about the shorts.
I knew that he was talking about that moment on the stairs, when I told him I can’t fix it. I knew that it was his way of saying that some things just take time, but you don’t throw them out, even if it seems like it’s all beyond repair.
This has been a month of seeing a million things I can’t fix and sometimes I still carry the disappointment of that. But God is showing me that it’s okay to believe that in a year, or two (or ten) we can pull things out, give it our best shot. Maybe the things that stained us with grief and mourning will finally start to wash out.
Sometimes, it pays to hold onto hope for something that everybody tells you to let go of.
It doesn’t mean you sit it front and center on your shelf. It doesn’t mean you constantly walk by it and torture yourself into mourning the loss of something you loved. Sometimes, you pack it away and you wait. You wait for that moment when courage collides with grace (and is sprinkled with a miracle) and you put your hands to it again and see that there’s a reason God never let you find the replacement pair of shorts.
Because He finds a way to fix things. He finds a way.
And maybe there are some things that don’t wash out–maybe there are some things that are done and over. But I think the way we figure that out is when the replacement pair of shorts doesn’t come our way.
God doesn’t leave us empty handed.
He gives us a new thing or he makes the old thing new again and whichever He chooses is always good. The new thing isn’t a knock-off and the old thing isn’t a shell of its former self. His gifts are good and perfect, whatever their form.
My heart is thankful He finds a way. And both my heart and my wardrobe are thankful that some things really do wash out.