Knotted Shoelaces


My oldest was probably only four years old when he showed me proudly that he could tie his shoes.

There they were, with the laces knotted together over and over until there was no more string left with which to work. How proud he was, and how I smiled. He had not tied them properly, but he had done his best and I was proud of him anyway.

With the laces tied together – tightly – in nearly twenty good knots on each shoe, I naturally had a bit of an unplanned project ahead of me. Undoing what he had done would take some time.

Even though it wasn’t on my agenda to untie all those knots, I remember being sweetly amused by his valiant effort to do something he had never done before. Tying shoes was important, something he knew I’d have to do if he didn’t. He was only trying to help, and I knew it. Of course there was no punishment for doing it “wrong;” only praise, and a little bit of guidance to help him do it a little better next time.

I’ve often reflected on that ‘motherhood moment.’ At times I’ve found myself in a pickle after trying to do something good (but in all the wrong ways). In those times, I think about my boy.

When my misjudgment creates a tangle, I’ve learned that there is always some Fatherly intervention available to help straighten everything out.

It’s not hard to imagine a loving Heavenly Father being sweetly amused by my valiant effort to try something new, something important, especially when I am only trying to help. Instead of being angry that I would meddle in His work and mess things all up, I believe He simply smiles, squats down and helps me unravel a few unnecessary knots. Gratefully, I’ve learned that I can’t ruin anything so badly that He can’t fix it. I’m just not that powerful.

When I seek His help, He is perfectly able to reverse the problems I cause, or at least make something wonderful out of bad situations in His own miraculous way, and in His own time.

He is able to do His work. But it brings me joy to try to help. And when things go wrong, I think He’s proud of me for trying. And when things go well, I know it’s not me. It never was me. I only made messes of knots when I thought it was.

I’m grateful for a loving Father in Heaven who does not condemn me when I do something wrong, if my intentions are right. And whenever I get down on myself for my mistakes, I think of a perfect Father in Heaven who loves me in spite of me, and helps me as I resolve to do better. I think of knotted shoelaces.

Remembering this gives me the courage to keep trying, until the day He finally says of His work, “It is finished.”

Related: When perfection is impossible (and it always is)

Originally published February 23, 2007


Releasing Bitterness

I received a letter that I don’t want to lose, and it has some valuable insights in it, so I’ll just post it here. My friend began her letter with a quote:

“It is my opinion that many really good teachers do not come from joyful households where all was easy. They come from a place of much pain and suffering, and they’ve worked through the layers to reach the place where they can now help others to become free. Most good teachers are continually working to release even more, to remove ever-deeper layers of limitation. This becomes a lifetime occupation.” Hay, Louise L. (2011-11-07). 21 Days to Master Affirmations (Kindle Locations 240-243). Hay House. Kindle Edition.


While I was reading this, I thought of you and all the times in the past year that you have mentioned in my hearing of your struggles to keep going despite the personal struggles you have had with the program and principles you teach.  Louise is the first “self-help” writer I ever read who actually HELPED me, when I read You Can Heal Your Life.  It was nearly twenty-five years ago, and I was becoming very ill.  I did not heal my body, but many things in my LIFE healed through what she taught me in that book.

I felt similar changes within myself when I began studying with you.  That is why I continued, why I pursued my Mentor Certification, why I continue to study, search, practice, and what Louise calls “release”, to move forward in my own life so I can learn enough to teach others with my own voice and not just parrot what I have learned.  Not that what I have learned is not good 🙂 you know that.  But you didn’t want “clones” to come out of your class, you wanted individual teachers who can help others.  Which is why I am still studying, expanding, searching.

I recently crossed paths with a young man in a parking lot.  We hit upon the topic of “bitterness” in our lives.  It made me realize that I still have a LOT of forgiving to do (my “hit list” of people I must forgive in order to free myself from the pain that holds me back in my own progression), and at age 60, now, I’d better get on with it! 🙂

Following the example of Goal Statements, I wrote it down.  I felt my pain pour out onto the page as I thanked God, in advance, for freeing me from the pain and bitterness of the memories I hold like a viper to my breast about these people.  It reminded me of the saying “Resentment is like taking poison and hoping the other person will die.”

I know I’m not totally free, yet.  It’s a list of four people, and two of them are still involved in my life as they are closely related family members.  But it was a start, and it felt SO GOOD!

Thank you for teaching me a way to start this!  If you ever need encouragement to keep going, please, please, PLEASE keep teaching, Leslie.  Our world needs what you so very capably teach.  I can’t imagine us without you.  I can’t imagine me being able to teach without you.  I can’t imagine how I would ever have healed as much as I have in the past two years without you and all I have learned FROM YOU.

If ever I can guide one other person onto this path of healing and peace for themselves, I will feel as if I have done you justice.  I do my best to give a “Jackrabbit” lesson to everyone who gives me the opportunity to work it into the conversation.

My usual signature to people I care about is “Love and Hugs,” but I want you to know that with this letter, it is so much more than that.  I just don’t know how to say it.

Love and Hugs,
Jan 🙂