“Another one!?” I exhale through my mouth and bend to look under the couch. Among the dust bunnies and lost Legos is a small red sock.
I grab it and add it to the pile already clutched in my hand. The setting sun’s light dances across the floor as I toss the sock into a basket of others gathered from all corners of the house.
“This is an exercise in futility,” I murmur into the empty room.
My children leave socks everywhere, you see.
Maybe their feet get hot. Maybe they want to wiggle their toes. Maybe they reject restrictive foot fabric on moral, religious, or philosophical grounds. Whatever the reason, my children shed socks like molting birds shed feathers. I find them in the car, on kitchen stools, in the dog’s crate, crumpled in the corners of the living room, and even under my pillow.
llogically, the wayward socks feel like a referendum on me. I can’t keep my house clean. I can’t keep socks on small feet. I can’t control the world (or the people in it).
I’ve been in a slump lately. When I shared this with a friend, she said, “I think the secret to getting out of a funk is to practice gratitude.” A line I read by John Milton seemed to agree: “Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.”
I started small. Every day for a week, I wrote a list of things I was thankful for in my journal. After a few days of intentional noticing, I started to feel the gentle flickers of awe within.
Simple things sparkled: warm eggs cooked with flecks of bacon, the sound of my children giggling in the dark, a boyish grin on my husband’s face when he said, “I like you in that sweater,” the very existence of breath in my lungs. Imagine my surprise when one day my hand—as if of its own accord—wrote “small socks scattered everywhere.”
Because this isn’t really a story about socks.
It’s about love for the people who wear them.
It’s about faithfulness.
It’s about seeing the world as bigger than I allow it to be.
And, above all, it’s about recognizing small flashes as what they really are: breadcrumbs leading me back to grace.