Monday, July 19, 2010

The Towel at the Bottom of My Beach Bag

All you need is love. And in the summertime, a thirsty beach towel.
Isn't mine groovy?
Thanks to my sentimental mommy, I still have the towel of my childhood.
Don't you love the fat 1970's lettering, the mod flowers and the doves?
Every time I unfold it, I'm spreading it out at Nags Head, feeling the hot sand under my feet, listening to the seagulls and the roar of the waves. I'm spinning it into a rat tail to slap the back of my brother's legs, wrapping it as a sarong around my waist, or fixing it into a long, trailing turban around my wet head.

I still occasionally bring out the towel to show the kids, and I'll tell you a secret. There are times when I've neglected the laundry so long that suddenly I'm dripping in the shower with only the Toy Story washcloth that everybody hates left under the sink. It's a short streak to the beach towels by the back door, and I always reach for my old hippie towel. It may be faded and thin and threadbare, but it soaks up water like a champ.

Maybe it's the heat and humidity curdling my brain, but lately I've been thinking a little too much about how much I love a thirsty towel. But that's not so weird, right? It's one of life's simplest pleasures, don't you think?
I've got a few towels that look pretty and plush and I hang them out whenever guests might be walking through my bathroom. But when it's time to dry off, they go straight to the bottom of the stack.
I want a towel that does what it's supposed to do: soak up everything ounce of water I've got--not smear it around my body, leaving me wet and grumpy.

Whenever mundane things like towels and clocks keep popping up in my brain, I have to wonder if there's a message there for me.
Could God speak to me through a thirsty towel?
Don't call the men in white coats just yet. I think I may be onto something here.

Maybe God wants to be my thirsty towel, complete with hippie love letters and doves, wrapping me up, receiving my love, soaking up my questions and complaints, my thank you's and praise, my pleas, even my anger, if I need to express it. Like the Wonderful Counselor that Christ is, He longs to hear my words, even though he knows my thoughts already.

Or maybe I'm supposed to be the towel, quick to absorb God's words to me, ready to soak up the blessings, to receive the direction he plants into the ordinariness of my life. I need to make sure that I'm not so busy trying to fit into my world's decor and culture, being pretty and plush, that I miss soaking up whatever God has for me.
I've got to be ready to receive.

Bring it on, God. I'm thirsty!

Is it hard for you too, to pull one ear out of the culture in which we live, to listen for God's words, to watch for God's blessings? How do you make sure you don't miss what God has for you?

Have a wonder-full Monday, y'all!

For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
Luke 11:10


Terri said...

Love that towel, and totally agree with you about towels that look good but only smear the water or towels that do the job...metaphor of our faith, too, I think.

Laura@OutnumberedMom said...

Having just come off of vacation, I'd have to say I see more and more the need to pull out of the culture. It did me SO much good. I'm trying to figure out how I'll accomplish that once school starts and this teacher is back at the daily grind...

I LOVE your towel! Takes me back. Love the metaphor of Him being the towel -- soaking it all up. He's strong enough and soft at the same time.

Jean Wise said...

Wonderful post! I get so quickly trapped by culture. Happens before I know it even when I have resolved not to. I think what helps me is to pause and see God in everything, even the ordinary like you did with your favorite towel. Thanks for the message today.

Heidi Mann said...

I love this sentence (as it seems the previous commenters did too): "I need to make sure that I'm not so busy trying to fit into my world's decor and culture, being pretty and plush, that I miss soaking up whatever God has for me."

There are so many useful and beautiful images/metaphors for God "out there," but I must say, this is perhaps the most creative one I've ever heard! AND I love that you carried it further and offered the idea that we can be like towels as well, in relation to God and His Word!

Julie Gillies said...

What a groovy post, Rebecca! I think that God definitely wants us to be thirsty towels, longing to absorb His love, so we can squeeze it out onto others.

Beth Herring said...

love this great post! I just love it when God speaks through things like this.

steve said...

The towel is also a wonderful symbol of servanthood - think Jesus washing the feet of his disciples and drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

Amy Sullivan said...

I like the idea that we are to be the towel soaking in God's words and blessings.

Kari said...

This is not the point of your post, but . . . Nags Head? Did you grow up in NC?

Anonymous said...

I always pray for wisdom to discern. That's my main prayer, actually. To know His will and to DO IT.
And I appreciate a thirsty towel, soft socks and eating peas in the garden.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

I love your thoughts, y'all!

Yes, Kari, I'm a North Carolina girl, raised in Raleigh. My husband is from Fayetteville. When Michelin offered him a job years ago, we crossed the border south with some trepidation, (all I knew of SC was ticky tacky South of the Border) but now we're South Carolinians, happy to wave the Palmetto. Are you a Carolina girl too?

Kari said...

Yes! I have always lived in NC. Greensboro, Charlotte, Elon College, Siler City. I'm back to Greensboro again these days. I didn't realize you were quite so close. For some reason I thought you were on the west coast.

My husband is from Long Island originally, but his family has all moved to Rock Hill, SC.

lynnmosher said...

Oh, Becky, I loved this post and your towel! I so want to be that thirsty towel, absorbing all I can from God and not the world! Blessings to you!

Beki - TheRustedChain said...

That will be my prayer for now, "God make me a towel." :) Love it!

Jenny said...

Such sweet truth. But strickly speaking about towels, you come to our house and you can tell we appreciate the "soppers" because those well worn and quite frayed towels certainly get used first and most are most often on sad display. I am a substance over style girl and my casual disorder at home shows it. Ah well.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Kari, we pass through Rock Hill all the time on our visits to NC. Very cool to make these connections!
Jenny, most of our towels are frayed and faded too. I'm all for casual disorder! It's easier to focus on the more important things that way!

Y'all's comments always make my day. Kisses and hugs to all of you!

Michelle DeRusha said...

Love that your the metaphor! You rock!