Monday, February 9, 2015


I have a few friends who write very well.  They captivate me with the way they describe seemingly ordinary things.  In some cases, their metaphors are classic.  They seem to spring up like desert flowers rising from the sand after a warm rain.  In other cases, they use actual pictures — rather than word pictures -- to help tell their stories, often wrenching smiles or tears from their readers.

Today, I wish I had a picture.  Actually, I could take a picture, but it would take me so long to set up that I am using one I found online.

Avon nativity set
This picture will help me tell my “Squeeze” story.  You see, we have the nativity set that’s in the picture and, no, it’s not for sale.  Our set came as a gift from Cathy’s mom, who sold Avon for something like 50 years.  Our kids were growing up when we received this set and they became very accustomed to getting Avon gifts from Mamma.  In fact, our kids grew up wondering if just about everything on the planet came from Avon.  “Is it Avon?” was the common question at our house.

Every year, Cathy and I decorate for Christmas and pull out that Avon Nativity set.  As you can see in the picture above, each piece comes in its own box.  Therein lies the “Squeeze” challenge.  The plastic storage box we bought is just the right size to hold the entire set…if you pack it in exactly the right order.  If you don’t, you end up with a “full” box and a piece or two that don’t seem to fit.

For this reason, one of the most dreaded annual chores at our house is re-packing the Avon nativity set in individual boxes, then in the storage box.  The operative word is “re-packing” since we have to re-pack, then re-pack again until we get it just right.  This year, Cathy announced that I am better at this than she and I tried to “squeeze” my way out of it, but she wouldn’t budge.  It. Took. Me. A. Long. Time!  Finally, it was safely tucked away until later this year when, if we keep up our tradition, we will pull it out the Friday after Thanksgiving.

I described this “Squeeze” to you because we reach the end of our “Clean Slate” series this weekend at Stone Ridge Church.  After talking about numerous obstacles that keep dusting up our relational slates, it’s time to find a way to get clean.  The only problem is that relationships are continually messy.  The people who figure out ways to live at peace with everyone have to keep working at it.  Frequently it requires a lot of “do-overs” (re-packing) to get our relationships to squeeze together nicely.

We will talk about it this weekend at Stone Ridge and I hope you can join us.  Can’t be there?  Catch the podcast!

1 comment:

Scott said...

So in EBI Don Vickers asked the question "When you get squeezed - what comes out?" Sometimes it is not too pretty!