Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers,
for by so doing some people have
shown hospitality to angels with out knowing it.
I was on a late flight from Ft. Worth to Oklahoma City last Friday night. We sat on the dark runway awaiting some maintenance on our plane - never a good feeling. I looked across the aisle and saw a woman, maybe 55, knitting feverishly. I've never seen hands move so quickly. She looked up from her work and gave me a gentle smile, catching me watch her.
"What are you knitting?" I asked.
"Shrags," she responded softly, never looking away from her work.
"Shrags?" I asked for clarification.
"Rags," she said again. "Like a dishrag you use to do dishes."
"Ohhhh, gotcha," I responded, feeling a little better about the conversation. I had no idea what a shrag was.
While still waiting on maintenance I dozed in a out of sleep for an hour before our plane even moved. In between tiger snoozes the lady got my attention.
"Because you asked what I was making, I want you to have one," she said as she passed me a plastic bag full of hand-knitted dishrags, every color imaginable. I did notice there were a lot of red ones. I wasn't about to stash one of those away in my suitcase - I've learned my lesson there.
I chose a brown and white rag and handed the bag back to her. In turn, she handed me a piece of paper and gave me a smile. Before I could even ask her what it was, the woman was back to work.
I decided against bothering the stranger again. I unfolded the half-sheet and turned on my reading light. It was a poem.
I'm a little dishrag all pretty and new,
created in love to be used by you.
Don't put me on a shelf just to be viewed,
Or under a glass to sop up the dew.
Or even on a hot pot to protect from the heat,
I'm a little dishrag - and at that - I can't be beat.
On the shelf, I'll just gather dust,
Under a glass I'll make a spot,
On the hot pot, I'll hurt you a lot,
But as a dish rag I'll clean with the best.
I'm cotton and small and really quite bumpy,
My cotton absorbs and I squeeze quite easily,
My bumps help me scour and scrub so completely,
I'm made for just one job, and one job only.
I will get stained and torn and ragged,
But that is the plan, it's what is intended,
When I get dirty just wash me and dry me,
How water and spin cycle will do the job nicely.
If I am not perfect or just the right hue,
That doens't mean I'm worthless or just will not do.
When we're working together those things won't matter,
We'll get the the job done, along with some laughter.
So, if you're not perfect - and none of are,
Remember me (dishrag) and what we accomplished.
God can use all things in Heaven and Earth,
If you're open to hear Him and put His will first.
I was created with love and with care,
to do one great thing that we both can share,
As we do your dishes and general cleaning,
Remember this prayer to the Father I'm sending.
I pray that our Father will show you your purpose,
To show you how lovingly, carefully He formed you,
To show you the work He intended for you,
And for you to find joy in all that you do.
And if you get stained, or ragged or torn,
He is there with you to wash you all clean,
He'll heal up your hurts and mend your heart,
He'll be there with you from morning to dark.
Look deep inside you and see how you're made,
What are you here for? What is your trade?
What brings you joy? Where is your heart?
Rest in His mercy and let His work start.
I'm a little dishrag all pretty and new,
Created in love to be used by you.
Lilly's sugar and cream or peaches and cream cotton yarn
Number 10 needles
Cast on and knit 4 stitches
Knit 2, yarn over, knit 2
Knit 2, yarn over, knit to end
Continue until 40 stitches are on the needle
Knit 1, knit 2 together, yarn over, knit 2 together, knit to end
Continue until 4 stitches remain
"What a kind note to give a complete stranger," I thought to myself. I looked over and the woman, knitting project in her lap, was asleep. I didn't have the opportunity to thank her. I shut of my light and followed her lead and tried to get some rest on the late flight.
I thought her note was one worth passing on. I don't know the woman's name, or why she was flying to Oklahoma in the dark or even where she was from. But I do know I appreciate the soft rag that now rests in my linen closet and the half sheet of paper that hangs on my inspiration board.
My way of thanking her is paying it forward to you.