Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Stain



The day after tomorrow is Saturday which means it's laundry day. Every Saturday afternoon, I make the trek down to the other end of the hall in my apartment building for one of my least favorite chores. BUT, it beats wearing dirty clothes! The following, also about my wardrobe, is from November 13, 2006.

I wore my favorite shirt to school today. It is a long-sleeve, blue and white pin stripe Arrow shirt, size 15 1/2, 34-35. In spite of being my favorite shirt, today was the first time it has been on my back since last March. On a fateful Spring day, I left a stick of gum in the pocket. Since I am a careless guy (is that redundant?) and did not check my pockets before laundering, shirt and gum went through the washer/dryer simultaneously. Hanging the shirt up as I pulled it out of the dryer, the damage became evident. At times in my life, I have been considered a laundry expert, specializing in baseball and football uniforms, but gum is out of my comfort zone. The next week, I asked Loa Glenn, our Westbury Christian School guidance counselor, if she could help and she volunteered to give it a shot. Loa was able to remove the gum but a stain, the size of a quarter, was embedded in the pocket. I tried again, using heavy doses of SHOUT! Stain Remover but it made no dent in the blemish. I gave up and the shirt has hibernated in my closet for the past eight months. Recently, I mentioned the shirt in my fifth period Life of Christ sophomore Bible class. Aryan, one of my students, spoke up. His family owns a dry cleaning business and he was sure they could remove it. Shortly thereafter, I gave the shirt to Aryan. Three days later, he returned the long sleeve, blue and white pin stripe Arrow shirt, size 15 1/2, 34-35. It was spotless. There was no trace of a stain. It was as if the shirt was brand new AND it was pressed as only professionals can press an article of clothing. It was like an early Christmas, a new shirt to wear to school....except it's only November.

Why couldn't I get the stain out and why couldn't Loa remove it? We tried and did our best. We had good intentions and we followed the accepted procedures. The problem was that we lacked the power. Aryan's family has at their disposal the proper chemicals and the ability to use them in the most effective manner. When Jesus, along with Peter-James-John, was returning from the Transfiguration, the remaining nine apostles found themselves unable to cast a demon out of a young man. The boy's father brought him to Jesus who rebuked the evil spirit and drove it out. The apostles seemed more perplexed about their inability than ecstatic that the life of the boy had been spared and asked why their attempts had been futile. Jesus replied, "This kind can only come out by prayer." (Mark 9:29) There is a limit to what we can do. Our efforts cannot take away the stain of sin in our life. One from above, one more powerful, had to be the cleansing agent to save us from the eternal stain on our souls:
"Come now, let us reason together," says the Lord. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." (Isaiah 1:18)
The stain on my shirt is gone. It is as if had never been there. The stain of sin on my life is gone. It is as if it had never been there. I, and my long sleeve blue and white pin stripe Arrow shirt, size 15 1/2, 34-35, are clean. Praise the Lord...and thank you, Aryan!



Applicable quote of the day:
"Doubts are like stains on a shirt. I like shirts with stains because when I'm given a shirt that's too clean, one that's completely white, I immediately start having doubts."
Antonio Tabucchi


God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1

http://www.hawleybooks.com/
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

1 comment:

hallmark said...

Can I get the name of Aryan's cleaner from you. Being a careless guy (yes I think it may be redundant), I have put ink pens in the front pocket of several shirts, and tried Shout, hair spray, and other well intended but ineffective techniques to save the shirts.

By the way your blogs are usually interesting even though I don't usually comment. Thank you for sharing your life.