Sock Wars


The cat’s out of the bag. I’ve spilled the beans. Things will never be the same. There’s no turning back.

A dirty, rolled up sock can be an effective weapon. The smellier the better. Dad’s seem to be more effective than the kids. Soon three bodies are hiding behind couches, pillows, or anything for cover. Six socks fling through the air at death-defying speeds. If my parents were here they’d be sure to say, “it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt!”  After all, this is sock wars.

There was no million-dollar production and no fancy special effects. Just a Dad and his two kids going all out. The rules are simple. Don’t play to hurt the other. One point for facial contact. No holds bared. And it all ends when Mom comes into the room, noticing the rolled up weapon beside an expensive trinket on a shelf. It wouldn’t have been so bad, except for the fact that I was loosing.

Last night I crossed the line.  Instead of telling my kids about the way my brothers and I destroyed the family recreation room (with three boys in the house, my mom called it the “wreck room”) with our favorite game, we’ve crossed the threshold. Sock wars is no longer a distant memory or one of Dad’s old stories, it’s a family tradition. And mom isn’t pleased.

Seems a little childish. A dad running around the house trying to bean his kids on the head with a rolled up sock. He should probably doing something adult-like. Maybe checking out the stock market, watering the lawn, or anything that adults like to do. Somehow it doesn’t seem right to let your hair down (assuming you have some) and have a free-for-all in the living room.

But then again, the kids did seem to enjoy it.  Socks weren’t the only thing that filled the air. Shreeks of joy and laughter were abundant. “Oh no you don’t” and “I got you” are the two most common phrases. Afterwards my ten-year-old son thanked God for sock wars in his evening prayers. Could it be that God was pleased?


Painted Faces

Painted FacesI looked around me to see fellow commuters, most of them oblivious to the drama that played out before us as traffic stopped at the busy street corner. A haphazardly dressed clown stood at the front of a line and began to juggle five brightly colored rings. He wasn’t skilled, but his performance was the only option other than the blank stares of impatient drivers in their cars.

The thirty seconds of his act seemed like an hour. The clown awkwardly dropped his rings twice. A stuffed-toy monkey perched silently on his shoulder, reflecting the emotionless state of those around me. The clown’s sad expression couldn’t be hidden by the thick layer of paint that covered his face.

Then I looked at the lady in the car beside me. She was busily putting the final touches on another painted face. It was a graceful, wealthier version of the same weary mask worn by the street entertainer.

As the clown walked through the lines of cars the lady glanced upwards and her eyes met his. A closed window separated the two, but it was as if they looked into a mirror. There was no smile, no acknowledgment; not any sign that the two recognized the emptiness that marked their encounter. The clown continued down the row, his hand extended in a plea for a few coins from his audience. The lady zoomed off as soon as the light turned green.

I was not struck by the contrast between the rag-draped clown and the elegance of the rich lady. I was amazed to see the similarity in their gaze, seeking for something that they could not define. Their pursuit for joy and meaning hid behind the thin facade of a painted face. The two couldn’t have been more different, yet their facial expression was identical.

Joy is a commodity that is difficult to find in the hustle and bustle of life. Just look at the sense of despair etched on the faces of people in a crowd. There is a deep inner need that awaits fulfillment. Somehow all people are like the poor clown or the rich lady, needing a fresh infusion of purpose and joy.

Jesus came to earth to reestablish our relationship with God and to offer His followers a new sense of joy. He said, “I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11).  He offers a divine sense of gladness that surpasses the difficult circumstances of our daily routines. His invitation for all men and women is to come to Him and find rest for their burdened souls.

Moving Day Decisions


The house was in a state of upheaval. Boxes, papers, toys, personal items and the accumulated “junk” of 10 years was scattered around the house as we prepared for our big moving day.

Our dining room table had became known as “Packing Central”, the place where things were sorted into three distinct piles:  the “Keepers pile”, the “Give ‘em away” pile, and the “Junker pile” were all distinctly marked. As space was limited, our moving day was forcing us to make some important decisions, as space was limited.

My 5-year old son paid particular interest in the sorting process, especially when he observed that we had just received a very special letter in the mail. His kindergarten class had visited the Post Office and he had mailed his first letter. With the help of his teacher he had written:

Dear Mom and Dad: 

You are the best.  I love you Mom!  I love you Dad! 

Love, Brett

As he looked at the three piles and the letter sitting on top of the table, he finally worked up enough courage to ask a question that was obviously plaguing him. “Dad,” he asked, “which pile does my letter go into?”

Dropping to my knees, I embraced him and quickly remarked, “Brett, this goes into the Keepers Pile. This is the most important letter that anyone could ever give to me.”

God has sent us all a letter – the Bible – that speaks of His love for us. It also speaks of His Son, Jesus, Whom He sent to the world. He asks each of us to evaluate into which compartment of our lives we will place Him: the “keepers”, the “for others”, or the “rejection” pile.

God awaits our answer to this decision and is ready to embrace us. In the book of Joshua (Joshua 24:15) the Lord encouraged all to choose for themselves this day whom they would serve. We make this importanht decision each day.