How many times have I sewn a button back on to a pair of trousers, a shirt, or a coat? (Jeans are always the worst). It’s a bugbear of mine that so many clothes come with the barest amount of cotton to hold buttons in place so, with basic regular use, they soon start to detach.
The button looks so dejected in its precarious position, held in place only by the buttonhole itself and the remaining thread wound tightly round.
I know how that button feels, hanging onto normality or sanity by only a few threads.
Sometimes life feels overwhelming. My Nan always used to say that troubles were like London buses – they never come alone! Or as Shakespeare puts it:
‘When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions.’ (Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 5)
Stresses can wear away the threads that hold us in place.
I found going away to university unexpectedly difficult, calling it homesickness, as if I just missed home. But it was more that I felt completely at sea, away from all that was familiar and gave me security. Those foundations that I relied on without realising until then were 200 miles away, with only the thin threads of weekly letters and occasional phone calls to hold me to them.
It was the Christian Union, with its echoes of the familiar, where I found more threads to reinforce and rebind me to confidence again, where I found friends who accepted and understood, made me feel at home in this new place, and who became more than just acquaintances.
It’s such a small word – ‘off’ – but we all need to be ‘on’, to belong rather than unattached and unsupported. Jesus said:
‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing…As the Father has loved me so have I loved you. Now remain in my love…that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.’ (John 15:5,9,11)
We need to get that sewing kit out and make sure we stay attached.