Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Season of Waiting: Week 3 - "Just an Old Pair of Socks"

Worship Arts Coordinator Krista Ewert's notes for this past third Advent Sunday:

"Today, we light the candle of Joy. This candle reminds us that amidst our toils and struggles Jesus is the source of our joy. It reminds us that despite all of the suffering in the world, the war, the discontentment, through belief in Jesus Christ, His saving work on the cross and His resurrection from the dead, we can live in the light of God’s grace with joy."

This week Dad and I had to go to Red Deer for a chiropractor appointment with the genius who is Dr. Lyle Smith. Miss Betty, our dear old friend, asked if she could come along as she really needed an adjustment; of course we were delighted to be able to take her with us.

Betty is almost completely blind: she can see shadowy figures moving in close proximity to her but she can't distinguish people unless she hears their voices.

And Betty is one of the quickest people I know. Here are some Betty-isms:

  • Upon bumping into my little Alana at the hospital one day, Betty asked her if she was married yet. "Not yet," replied  Alana. "Well," said Betty, "It's better to be a Miss than a Mistake ..."
  • Once  Dad was speaking on a Wednesday night and he talked about how as a child, when everything was so dusty and brown, he decided he hated brown. "I said then that I was going to marry a redhead with green eyes - and I ended up marrying a girl with brown hair and brown eyes." "Aww, Allan," piped up Betty, "you should have waited for me!"
  • She told us on the way to Red Deer that there are signs on each bedroom window at her seniors home that say not to open the windows in the winter. "But it gets so hot and stuffy in there, and besides which I'm blind and I can't read the sign, so I open mine ... I'm a bit of a rebel, you know ..."
Betty worked for years up north in DeChambeau Lake region, and kids she had looked after decades ago still call her every week for advice, for comfort, for grounding. For a long time she was provided with room and board and $10 a month. Needless to say, she has not accumulated many treasures on earth. But this Tuesday, as we drove up to Red Deer she discovered that in my haste I had neglected to put on socks. Betty is a great believer in being bundled up against the cold and always checks to make sure Dad and us girls have on our coats. "As it happens, I always carry a spare pair of clean socks with me," she piped up. I want you to put them on and get your feet warm."'

"But I'll probably lose them," I demurred.

Well, you just keep them then," she replied. "I wanted to do something for you this Christmas, and now I can give you a pair of socks to keep your feet warm."

"You need them, Betty," I tried to protest.

"You need them more," she flashed back. "they're not new - they're just an old pair of socks, but they're clean, and then I will have given you something for Christmas!"

How could I refuse? I accepted the sock roll she dug out of her handbag, and she stumbled off for her appointment.

As the socks unrolled, I choked back laughter and tears. The sock on the outside of the roll was purple; the inside sock, however, was grey with red toe and heel ...

"Are you going to wear them?" my Dad asked me quizzically.

"I'm going to wear them and treasure them," I replied. When Betty came back a few minutes later she asked me if I had put on the socks. "I have, and I love them - they'll always remind me of you!"

Her dear old face softened, the blankness in her eyes superseded by joy. "I'm so happy you like them; I wanted to give you something you would like!" she exclaimed with evident pleasure.

On Wednesday was our TH Bible study Christmas dinner, and the ladies came early to help. Brenda, Rose, Dianna and Leona bustled about taking care of doing dishes, setting the table, helping with the food prep and getting everything out on time. Ben carved the turkey. Dad made the turnips. Dad, BA and Deborah actually provided the turkey and the vegetables and all I had to do was cook them - "We're so glad to be able to do this for you," they told me. (Pictures to come of that evening!)

Then on Thursday morning Angela called to say there was an opening at the eye doctor's clinic at 11. Could I make it?

I could, and did. Dr Martin Lee examined my eyes and figured out a new prescription for contacts and glasses. Martin and his wife and son love my cheesecakes and he has purchased several of them for special occasions. When it came time for me to pay for my appointment, there was no charge. "That's wrong," I protested. "Look," said Maris, "he wrote that down himself and initialed it. No charge."

I was dumbfounded and unsure of what to do. Susan, the glasses specialist, pulled me aside. "It's easy to think that joy lies only in giving, Karyn," she said gently. "Sometimes it's in receiving. When you allow yourself to accept from other people who want to give to you, you are giving them the gift of joy and blessing in return."

So on Friday when Don and Norma said they were going to drive me to Red Deer to help me do my food run for the weekend, I gratefully accepted. And when Norma and BA and Don volunteered their time and effort to make the Legion Christmas dinner on Friday night a magical evening, I gladly welcomed them. And this evening when Jackie showed up to help me serve the Christmas dinner, I hugged her thankfully.

In this week starting off with the Advent candle representing joy being lit, my eyes were opened to the joy I can give just by stepping back and allowing others to minister to me.

But the joy I received when I saw how much they appreciated the chance to do something for someone else in this self-sufficient old world was immeasurable.

And on this third week of Advent I calculated that almost all these people who were being blessed while they blessed me could trace their joy back through the peace that passes all understanding - peace that trumps frailness of body and sorrow and pain. And they know this peace because they have experienced firsthand the hope that God offers those who trust in Him.

Just an old pair of socks, maybe, but there was an invitation to joy rolled up inside them!


  1. Kar you are such a giver how could anyone ever say no to you.I only hope it balances out soon.We have to change the phrase I will only throw it out. I will come up with a new one for you in the new year. OB

  2. Beautiful socks from such a beautiful soul... sure do love Miss Betty!!! (did you know she prayed me "Home"?) Thanks for sharing these wonderful life lessons in such a wonderful way. You are an encouragement to me, my beautiful friend!

  3. Yes! And although you aren't very good at accepting others ministry towards you (don't deny it, just accept it), just know it is God ministering through them.

  4. Almost cried over the sock story:). She sounds like a very sweet lady. It is different learning to just let people be a blessing. Sometimes a little overwhelming and a simple "thank you" doesn't seem enough, but it's wonderful how the Lord encourages us through those around us. Have a wonderful Christmas!

  5. darn it, K. . .

    ya know, ya got me thinkin' . . .

    we're each like an old sock
    needling one another
    needing an other
    miss - matched
    or perfectly coloured
    we fit
    we warm

    sometimes we look
    sometimes a little
    b it
    od d

    around the b
    in need of a mend
    a good


    if we
    were all

    a little more blind
    a little more kind


    ( i
    we )
    we'd truly see
    one another
    without prejudice
    no different than us



    (. . . just an old sock . . .)

    an odd sock
    waiting to be chosen
    waiting to be paired
    waiting to be gifted
    waiting to fulfill
    one simple purpose. . .

    to warm just
    cold (foot)

    to clothe just
    naked (foot)

    little. odd. sock.
    you colour
    someone's world
    with your

    let. some. one.
    warm your
    with their

  6. There are a few occasions in my life when I've come across a poem and said, "I wish I'd written that."

    I really, REALLY wish I'd written that.

    The stockings hung
    by the chimney
    with care.

    Thank you, from me and RtL readers, for the beautiful Christmas gift.

  7. I was thinking of the sock poem and of my kids who have worked for me through the years.

    Two girls stand out in my mind. These girls are TH treasures if there ever were TH treasures. They are accepting and compassionate and funny and made a practice of caring for everyone who came through the doors of the TH.

    My socks now have names: the purple one is Lois Lewis and the red-and-grey one is Little Dawn.

    Happy Christmas, my very loved pair of socks!!

  8. you're right. i *get* the poem.

    i'm sitting here barely holding it together as i think of all socks that He has allowed me to be paired with. socks that have brought incredible joy with their zany colours and how, somehow, it makes the pair beautiful.

    how each sock has brought warmth in the midst of the hardness of this year.

    how sometimes, you just need that particular sock.

    and as i face a future with no known socks, it makes me want to hold my socks here that much closer.

    you, my dearest karyn are one of the most colourful, the most warm, the most zany of the socks i've been given. and i am so, so thankful for you and for who you are.

    who you are is beautiful, and kind and gracious and a woman who allows Jesus to touch so many lives for Him.

    i love you.


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