Peace, Sock Lint and How There is Nothing New Under the Cover (Except there is)

Falling Leaves

“Peace. Be still,” Jesus said.

He was talking to a storm at the time, but I’m pretty sure he tells me the same thing quite often. “Storm” could be middle my name some days.

I like this verse, even though I don’t abide by it very often. I used to do an annual camping trip to unplug and sit in the woods. As a kid it was three weeks. As I entered adulthood it dropped to two weeks, then one. Now I’m doing good if I carve out a long weekend. Funny how other “responsibilities” have a way of interfering with the importance of doing nothing.

I wonder sometimes what my overstimulated brain would do if it were plunked down in the middle of a forest for 3 weeks. I’m pretty sure I would have all the symptoms of a minor detox. Some days I swear I feel the sizzling of my neurons as they process input from so many unnatural sources – the environment I’m in, and more often than not, numerous environments I’m not in. All these foreign inputs are brought to me courtesy of Zoom, Webex, YouTube, Google, Slack and a host of other platforms charging me to view this, respond to that, answer here, decide this. When I stop to think about it, which of course I don’t, the pace of business stacked atop the pace of life truly is insane. And if those inputs were suddenly all yanked away? Pretty sure my brain would short circuit and leave me in a jittery, irritable, can’t-settle-to-any-one-thing kind of state.

And then I’d probably sleep for a week.

Sock Lint Survival Skills

In the jumping-from-one-thing-to-another fashion so endeared by modern society, I was thinking of camping while cleaning out the lint screen of the dryer the other day. It reminded me of the time I built a fire-starter by stuffing dryer lint in a stack of empty toilet paper tubes. In case you’re wondering, this experience belongs in the category of “seemed like a good idea at the time but I will never try that again.”

Apparently the lint, so spark ready when it was warm and fuzzy in the dryer, managed to absorb enough moisture in transit that when I struck the first match it smoldered for 20 minutes. Worse, it permeated the entire campsite with the smell of dirty, wet socks. To this day, I do not understand this, because my socks were clean when they went in the dryer. Almost makes me want to try again just to see if I’m remembering the experience correctly.

Marshmallow à la stinky foot, anyone?

Anyway. It seemed prudent to pass on this lesson while I’m thinking of it. Just in case you’re looking for some homemade firestarter ideas. Don’t buy this one off your local scout.

Back to scriptures.

Seasonal Scriptures

I was thinking the other day, among the laundry lint and at least a dozen other simultaneous thoughts, how certain scriptures appeal at certain times. These days, I find myself a big fan of Ecclesiastes. As counterintuitive as it may seem, I take some measure of comfort in the declarative “Meaningless!”

When the world seems to have gone mad, when I seem to be running in circles +LINK+, when I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do next – Meaningless!

And yet.

For every “Meaningless, meaningless, everything is meaningless!” there is a triumphant echo of “Behold, I am making all things new!”

See, I am doing a new thing. Do you not perceive it?

No, I don’t perceive it. And I’m not particularly interested in a new thing. The old thing was suiting me just fine, thank you very much.

That’s okay, He says, as I flip back to Ecclesiastes. I wrote that too. There is a scripture for every season under heaven you know.

It’s true. This much I do perceive. Verses that speak to me in one season grate at me in others. Verses that breathed life during one season fall like withered leaves during another season. Verses that sparked and flamed in the light smolder like stinky sock lint in the dark.

And then.

Old and New Again

There is a new one. An old one, but a new one. One I’ve read many times before with nary a second glance that suddenly I cling to as though my life depended on it. There is nothing new under the cover of my Bible, and yet… there is.

Yes, He says with a wink. After all, the old is being made new!

The transformation may come in a twinkling someday – my transformation. But in the meantime, I muddle through. God never lets me sit too long in one place. He never lets me rely on one thing – even a verse of scripture – for too long. He constantly reminds me that on this journey, it’s Him and me. We’re travelling together, and as long as it takes, He will guide me. By a Word that is living and active, I wrestle with the new and learn from the old. I return to the old and step toward the new.

Something old, something new… it starts to sound a bit like that wedding adage. And why shouldn’t it? Why shouldn’t it sound exactly like a wedding?

The bridegroom pours himself a glass of wine. He’ll wait.

This post was first written for I hope you found the meanderings thought-provoking!


  1. […] my recently acclaimed favorite-for-now book of the Bible, I read: If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will […]

  2. […] my recently acclaimed favorite-for-now book of the Bible, I read: If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill […]

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Meet Janet!

Janet Beagle, PhD is the founder of The Mustard Patch. She divides her time between the Midwest and New England, and if she’s not writing, she’s probably out hiking with her 2-and 4-footed friends.