Tears and mends

When I was a child, my mother used to keep a pile of clothes to mend, mostly belonging to us kids, by the sewing machine, and she would patiently work on them every Saturday morning. I have many happy memories of sitting beside her and learning simple sewing and making doll dresses. But the most important thing she taught me there was one day when she said: “Life is like this mending I do every week. When something goes wrong, you fix it; then if something else tears, you mend it, and that is how you get along.”

Sure enough, as I grew up, I learned that life is not always like a brand-new cloth. It sometimes tears and it sometimes opens at the seams or loses a button. But like Mom taught me, we just have to try again, or apologize and try to fix the mistake we’ve made and forgive the blunders of others or help them to undo their messes.

Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” When I first read that, I was shocked. I had thought that being a friend meant only saying positive things and never criticizing or correcting anyone. I learned I could gain through listening to reproof from the people I knew loved me, like well-meaning friends, my husband, brothers and sisters, and my own grown children.

I realized that to grow spiritually we need input from all sources and that we should listen to good advice and meditate on it for a while, rather than rejecting it out of pride. We can also try to counsel loved ones against continuing on a path that we know by experience will only lead to defeat and heartbreak.

When driving, it is much easier to see the lights from another car than to see our own. The same is true of our own weaknesses and shortcomings. Faithful friends will help us see them and improve. Then we will grow spiritually and become more of what God knows we are capable of being. We will also feel happier and more fulfilled as time goes on, like passing exams in school and moving on to higher grades.

So when something goes wrong, don’t despair. There is always room for improvement. God is in the second-chance business. The important thing is to learn from our mistakes, pass our grades, and move forward. Remember, when something tears, it can usually be mended.