This was an important question: the towels were meant to be in the bathroom cupboard along with the other bath towels, not in the wardrobe on top of the sheets. If one understands the concept of having things in order, one can truly appreciate my green-towel dilemma--and being a person who likes to have things in order, I would spend some time each day exchanging disorder for order and how happy that made me. However, on this day the question of the misplaced green towels went unanswered as there were more pressing things on my mind--literally, a blood clot in my brain--and I drifted into unconsciousness without attending to the green-towel situation.
As it happened, I didn't attend much of anything over the next few weeks. The clot traversed the length of my brain, resulting in seizures and a stroke, so I had plenty of time to contemplate the meaning of life, the universe and everything--including the odd position of green towels--as my body decided whether it was going to live or die.
As it was, I lived, much to the amazement of the medical fraternity and indeed myself. The pain was so horrendous I considered rejecting my biblical teachings and accepting that I had descended directly to hell.
But instead, I eventually went home. Except now, after weeks of neglect, it was more dishevelled and disorderly than I remembered. As I lay on my bed casting my eyes about, I spotted those confounded green towels. They were still perched on top of the sheets, completely out of position. Irritation set in. Slowly at first, then becoming allconsuming. And it wasn't just the towels; it was the long grass that needed mowing, the car that needed vacuuming, the linen that needed folding, the dishes that needed washing. Meanwhile, all I could do was remain perched on the bed, completely out of position myself and hating every minute of my disorderly and useless life.
Into this waste of space enters my husband. He can see I am upset, irritated, and it irritates me even more knowing he probably knows why I am becoming irritated. He enfolds me in his arms and tells me that the most important thing is that I am alive, that we have each other and we have God. That is all he says before leaving the room, green towels remaining.
Then it hits me. How could I have become so selfish, even when my life is falling apart around me, that I am concentrating on things rather than people? What matters most in life is not what I have or where I find it but who is there and how I relate to them. My daily Bible study means nothing if, at the end of the day, I am more concerned with green-towel placement than the people who are using those towels.
Green towels still sit out of position in my wardrobe. Those green towels remind me that I have been given a second chance. Those green towels remind me that I have a purpose in this life--to live with the heart and soul of Christ in me. Those green towels remind me that my life means nothing if I don't impact people for good and for God. Those green towels remind me that my time is God's, my life is His and while I can have a tidy house, I should spend more time worrying about who I am inviting for dinner rather than how the house is going to look when they get here. Those green towels remind me that my life is fragile and my responsibility is to proclaim that we, as a community, have each other and we have God.
And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? Is anything worth more than your soul? Matthew 16:26.
Denise Krklec is a physiotherapist who lives Brisbane, Queensland.
This story is used with permission from Signs Publishing Company. More of these stories can be found in these collections: Ordinary People—Extraordinary God, Ordinary People—Faithful God, and Ordinary People—Generous God