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  • Tami McCandlish

Out of Rags

In the middle of my to-do list, I dumped 30 ounces of water, dousing the shirt I planned to wear the rest of the day. It was a minor mishap, but this clean-up was not on my agenda.

Charlie’s chuckles goaded my monkey. “Monkey” is our family’s code word for anger.

He headed to the basement for a workout, only to re-emerge ten minutes later to tell me about a leak. I thought I had sopped up the mess, but evidently, I pushed most of the water through some mystery crack on our floor.

I didn’t feel like cleaning up the puddle again. I didn’t want to figure out the leak. Monkey wanted out of her cage.

I raced to the laundry room, mumbling something not even I understood, knowing I shouldn't grumble. I snatched a towel out of a stack of rags. A note fluttered to the floor. I picked it up, and it stopped my rant.

“What’s this?” I said, peeking out at Charlie with my head lowered.

“What does it say?” he said.

Struck by the timing, I hesitated.

“I love your laugh.”

I unsuctioned my shirt from my belly and admired the watermark. We busted out laughing. I said "whatever" to my to-do list and thanked God for my husband.

Over the next few months, I discovered that Charlie had written notes and placed them throughout the house. I found them in drawers, in books, and under pillows. Each one encouraged me and reminded me of my value, but the note I remember most is the one that fluttered down from above out of the rag pile.

Isn’t it like us humans to get bent out of shape over silly little messes? To grumble when we know we shouldn’t? But when we surround ourselves with the right people who gift us with the right messages, out of rags, we can choose to clean up our perspectives and reclaim joy.

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